CBD & Fibromyalgia

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CBD & Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition in which widespread pain is a symptom. CBD has been found to improve the quality of life of those suffering from fibromyalgia by assisting with three key aspects of the disease: pain management, cognitive function, and insomnia.

What is Fibromyalgia?

The Mayo Clinic describes Fibromyalgia this way:

“Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.”

Fibromyalgia is thought to be caused by “overactive” nerves. These nerves send signals to receptors in the brain that something is wrong and the brain registers these messages as pain. The CHECK ENGINE light is always on no matter what you do. And it’s not just on, it’s flashing and buzzing. All day and all night.

What many of us might consider to be a light touch on the skin can register as intense, burning or even throbbing pain.

How Can CBD Help?

CBD has been found to improve the quality of life of those suffering from fibromyalgia by assisting with three key aspects of the disease: pain management, cognitive function, and insomnia.

A study published in 2009 entitled The Analgesic Properties of Cannabinoids, first showed the effectiveness of cannabinoids in treating both inflammatory pain (pain caused by inflammation in the body) and neuropathic pain (pain caused by damage or disease effecting the somatosensory nervous system).

Though the exact way that CBD helps to treat neuropathic pain is still being studied, one strong theory states that CBD may interrupt the nerve pathways that send signals of pain between the brain and the body.

If the nerves are “overactive,” CBD is thought to both calm them and disrupt their ability to sound the alarm to the rest of the nervous system.

CBD’s ability to help alleviate inflammation works on the entire body – including the brain itself. Brain inflammation is a common symptom of fibromyalgia. This leads to a decrease in cognition which is often referred to as “brain fog,” a feeling of slow, hazy thinking. Furthermore, brain inflammation causes depression, anxiety, irritability, anger, and memory loss. CBD has also demonstrated some neuro-protective abilities by stimulating cell repair. This could improve brain function and lessen brain fog.

Finally, with the brain sent into overdrive all day with incoming pain signals, fibromyalgia patients experience an often-continuous state of hypervigilance. The brain can’t turn itself off resulting in anxiety and insomnia.

CBD ability to assist with both falling asleep and achieving a deeper, more restful sleep. Ingesting higher doses of CBD induces a feeling of calm. Or as many patients describe it, “relaxing but not intoxicating.” This allows the brain and the body to finally rest.

Though the full effects and benefits of CBD on fibromyalgia is still in its infancy, there is every reason to believe that we will be seeing the results of many more studies in the coming year.

As Adrienne Dellwo recently wrote in an article for VeryWellHealth, “While anecdotal evidence certainly isn’t scientific proof of anything, we have an abundance of it from people with fibromyalgia who say CBD helps them, and you can bet that when patients who have hard-to-treat conditions tell their doctors something works, it piques their interest.”

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