Sufferers experience up to five times the pain of non-sufferers. Sometimes the slightest touch is agony. There are many other symptoms that come along with fibro including chronic fatigue, muscle spasms, blurred vision, ‘brain fog’, IBS, sleep problems, migraines, poor balance, shortness of breath, restless legs, etc.
The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown. It’s believed that people who have this condition process pain differently, and that the way their brains recognise pain signals makes them overly sensitive to touch and other stimuli.
Some people believe fibromyalgia is a new condition, but it’s existed for centuries. The disease can affect anyone, including children, but it’s more common in adults. Women are diagnosed with fibromyalgia more often than men.
There is no cure for fibromyalgia, but medication, some lifestyle changes, and natural remedies can help people manage the symptoms. Research is ongoing, nonetheless, CBD remains a popular choice and there is little doubt that an increasing number of people are turning to CBD oil to help symptoms of fibromyalgia.
The pain-relieving effects of CBD may be explained by the ways that this substance affects the brain. It may interrupt the nerve pathways that send signals of pain between the brain and the body.
The anti-inflammatory action of CBD appears to reduce heat and swelling around injury or disease which, in turn. would reduce pain. It is suggested that a lack of endocannabinoids — neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors — may be at the root of chronic pain syndromes, including migraines and fibromyalgia. Taking CBD may correct this deficiency, explaining the compound’s success in alleviating chronic pain.
Life altered dramatically for Fiona Henry (pictured above) when she started to experience symptoms of fibromyalgia. As her world was turned upside down in so many ways by this debilitating condition, and as she battled to get through each agonising day, she desperately sought help from anywhere she could find. Here, she shares her story; the struggles, the torment, the fears … and her gratitude for the eventual solace she discovered through taking CBD.
Before the onset of fibromyalgia, I was a fit person, always ‘on the go’, enjoying time at the gym and a keen runner, even participating in The Great Northern Run.
‘It felt like I had cement running through my veins.’
My husband had to come and carry me out of work as I could no longer lift my arms and legs, and I couldn’t speak.
It felt like I had cement running through my veins and my eyelids felt like they had great big weights on them.
Once the illness took over, I initially endeavoured to continue with my career as a senior beauty therapist, trying to push through it, yet this only made the symptoms worse and eventually, when I was so fatigued that I couldn’t move, I was forced to give up the job I loved.
‘I felt as though I was trapped in my own body. It was terrifying and incredibly isolating.’
The loss of my career was devastating. The impact on my life was immense as everything I knew and looked forward to before now had to change.
My husband became my carer, something he had to deal with on top of working in two jobs, taking on all the roles that I had always managed, like food shopping, cleaning and cooking.
I couldn’t look after myself at all. At my worst, I was completely bed-bound, temporarily paralysed, unable to tolerate the smallest amount of noise and light.
I felt as though I was trapped in my own body. It was terrifying and incredibly isolating.
I could no longer go out dancing all night with my friends like I used to. I’ve gone from running half marathons to not being able to walk more than 100 yards, using a walking stick and recently needing a wheelchair to get around.
I have two toy poodles who are my life but the joyful walks together became a pleasure of the past. Instead, I would strive to just cross the road and sit on the bench so that I could watch them play.
I’ve always been the one busily looking after everyone else but now I had to rely on others for help, something that I struggled to adjust to and always found difficult to accept.
It was heart-breaking for me, not being able to make a fuss of people like I used to, feeling guilty for not being able to help out and do things in the way I used to.
When I was finally diagnosed it was a sense of relief. I had known deep down that I had fibro for a while and this gave me the opportunity to be able to manage my symptoms properly.
I was diagnosed with M.E first and then I developed the pains and was also diagnosed with fibro.
I have to rest as much as possible, between little bouts of activity, conserving the energy that I do have for managing my symptoms and trying to get better.
I have learnt to listen to my body as trying to ignore it has only made things tougher. I am pacing myself and accepting this new norm, whilst still finding ways to enjoy myself.
After finding out that I had fibromyalgia, I joined a few support groups on Facebook and alternative therapies were often mentioned. Living with pain and fatigue is something I have sadly become accustomed to, and I was willing to try anything that might help me. I began to consider taking CBD.
Finding Hapi Hemp was a bizarre coincidence! My aunt was in Cambridgeshire visiting her son and his wife and through conversation, I discovered that she knew one of the Hapi Hemp business owners!. I couldn’t believe it, as I had literally been looking at their website for the past week!
‘I couldn’t imagine life without CBD oil!’
CBD changed everything for me. It is not a miracle cure but it really does make such a huge difference to my ability to manage the condition.
I have become a CBD fan in every which way – taking oral drops and drinking the CBD tea, I also use the CBD bath salts and massage oil. And the CBD roller goes everywhere with me!
CBD oil helps with every single symptom I have; I sleep better and wake up more refreshed. It eases my pains, gets rid of tinnitus, helps lessen migraine attacks, calms me down, and got rid of restless leg syndrome.
Overall, I would say that I just feel more alive! I really can’t imagine life without Hapi Hemp CBD Oil!
Cannabis Health is THE UK magazine covering cannabis medicine and wellbeing from every angle. It is affiliated with the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society and lists campaigner Hannah Deacon, leading expert Professor Mike Barnes and prominent doctor Dani Gordon on our editorial panel. For a limited time only, we are offering a free – absolutely no strings – annual subscription to the quarterly print title. You will receive four issues, delivered with discretion to your address – with no hidden fees or obligation to pay beyond that. To repeat, this is a 100% free promotion available to the first 100,000 sign-ups.
How a working mum found stress relief with CBD oral strips
A mum-of-two reveals how CBD oral strips help her find overcome stress.
A busy, middle-aged, mum-of-two reveals how CBD oral strips help her find overcome stress in her demanding profession.
It was another stressful day for Maria* who was getting ready to attend an important board meeting for the municipal mountain railway in her hometown.
The 55-year-old mother-of-two, juggles several professional roles as a secretary, a clerk, and an Authorised Person at a legal service and notary’s office.
In addition, she is actively involved in key decision making for various committees in her community.
On this particular day, Maria was experiencing a high level of anxiety while preparing a presentation, as a member of the board of directors for a railway system that happened to be the steepest funicular in the world.
She could feel herself shaking slightly and unable to focus due to the stress – a feeling she has experienced more frequently than she’d like.
This was when she took out the Elevar Leafs CBD oral strips that her friend had given her.
“I had told my friend about my pressure-filled time and that I was looking for products that are not only useful but also tasteful. So, she kindly shared these CBD oral strips with me,” Maria commented.
Although she had tried CBD oil before in hopes of achieving better sleep, more inner peace and relaxation, this was her first CBD oral strip experience.
“Surprisingly, the strips tasted quite good. There was a very slight burning sensation in my throat after taking them but that didn’t bother me at all. I felt much more relaxed, resilient and balanced afterwards and was able to sleep better.
“They were stronger compared to the CBD oil drops I had before, and the usage was very simple,” she said.
Shortly after taking the strip by placing it between the top of her tongue and gums to let dissolve and absorb, Maria was able to continue with her packed schedule in a calm and collected way.
The 25mg CBD dosage per strip also allowed her to manage her CBD intake accurately throughout the day and rest of the week.
In addition to her busy career and family life, Maria enjoys hobbies ranging from reading to skiing, jogging, ‘jazzercising’ and travelling.
Since the Elevar Leafs CBD oral strips are packaged individually to ensure protection from moisture and UV, this allows her to take them with her conveniently anywhere, at any time.
“Berry Mint was definitely my favourite flavour, although I enjoyed them all,” she said, having tried all three flavours of Fresh Mint, Berry Mint and Lavender.
“I think the pricing is quite fair since you get 25mg CBD from just one strip.”
Maria added: “I would love to use these strips on a regular basis, especially for weeks with heavy schedules and before long meetings – and I would definitely recommend these strips to family and friends as well.”
*Maria’s name has been changed to protect her privacy for this case study.
“Everyone involved deserves a special thank you” – My journey to a medical cannabis prescription
Medical cannabis patient Jack Pierce shares his journey to accessing a legal prescription
After Cannabis Health revealed that clinicians were experiencing abuse from some patients, Jack Pierce wanted to share the positive experience he had accessing a medical cannabis prescription.
My journey began several years ago when just like many others, I was struggling greatly with my mental health and found it creeping into all areas of my life.
I was constantly anxious and felt as though I was in an empty pit of despair. I would often experience episodes of stress, which would lead to long periods of upset, confusion and difficulty.
I struggled to hold down jobs, relationships and then friendships became also difficult. I had frequent issues managing socially and trying to live what would be considered a normal life even with my closest loved ones. I became further withdrawn from society and only found positives in my special interests and routines, if these were to be removed, I would have periods of high stress and emotional distress.
Due to all this negativity, I began to seek treatment from the NHS in the forms of therapy and was prescribed, like many others, antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication to try to combat the symptoms I was facing.
During this time, I also began to self-medicate with medical cannabis as I had found this helped my symptoms when I was depressed, anxious and suffering from other issues such as stress meltdowns and attention problems. It also seemed to improve my physical health concerning my back and my diet.
However, like many others, I had to keep this treatment secret due to the fears of judgement and prosecution due to the plant’s criminal status.
Cannabis medicine gave me hope and a reason to carry on. It meant my life was liveable, just like any other person’s. I have not stopped using cannabis since to treat and manage my symptoms, as without the flower I would be lost.
The medication prescribed by the NHS had very little effect and often came with severe reactions such as night terrors and health problems. My insomnia only began to worsen during this time as stress from my daily life increased and my mental health began to take a hit.
I had then been prescribed medication to combat the sleeping issues I was facing, as I would be awake for almost two days at a time. Again, the medication came with addictive side effects as well as the feeling of withdrawal after consumption.
I sought out further help from my GP and local services and was officially diagnosed with what they thought had been anxiety and depression, but was actually autism.
Due to the recent diagnosis, I learned why the general medication prescribed to treat my illness would not work and I was left confused and worried about how I would treat the symptoms I faced daily, which caused life to almost be unbearable.
I began to look at how I could use cannabis legally in the UK as the current laws consider patients like myself as criminals, who only contribute to the lower levels of society. Which is not the case.
Here is my journey to accessing a legal medical cannabis prescription, so far:
Getting a medical cannabis card
The first step I took was to access a medical cannabis card from CanCard UK.
The UK-based organisation works towards giving patients access to a medical identification card that shows the patient is using the plant for medicinal purposes.
Once I had received my card my anxiety reduced greatly, I felt safer when having to purchase my medication the only way possible. The card meant that my self-medicating was deemed acceptable by those close to me, as it was for medicinal purposes not recreational like many people think.
However, despite having the card I still felt limited in the way I had to receive the medication, often having to put myself at risk and being taken advantage of financially was the only option.
Accessing a private prescription
I began to do some more research and came across a company called Sapphire Medical Clinics, which I booked my first appointment with.
The appointment was to take place over Zoom within two weeks of payment which I found to be a huge positive and reduced my anxiety almost straight away.
My final reasoning was that this form of treatment was not only more appropriate for me, but more importantly, I was growing tired of funding a criminal network that would only take advantage of me due to my disabilities.
What was the first appointment like?
My first appointment went smoothly. The doctor I saw was very understanding of my conditions and previous history, which eased my anxiety greatly.
We spent a large amount of time discussing why and how I used cannabis already.
I consume my flower as a medicine three times a day, as I find it best to manage and function this way. We discussed which treatment I would benefit most from and in the doctor’s opinion, this would be a High THC flower with a low amount of CBD to help manage my disability.
The positives here are not just centred around the fact I can receive my flower this way. There is great reward in finally being understood by a doctor who understands the use of medicinal cannabis and to be able to discuss an effective treatment plan, rather than purchasing off someone with very little knowledge of the product.
The doctor was able to refer my case to the board meeting which takes place weekly to decide patients eligibility. Of course, I had anxiety about this like any other patient, would I be accepted? Would my money be wasted? Would I still have to use the same old route?
But after a few days of waiting, I was accepted and was prescribed the Indica flower the doctor had spoken of. This would be sent to the private pharmacy.
Receiving my medication
Now all the hard work had been done, it was just a matter of paying for my medication and waiting to receive it. As the flower is a Schedule 2 Controlled Substance the flower must be prescribed in written form and sent to the private pharmacist via courier.
The pharmacy then logs this prescription and forwards a very simple invoice with a payment link attached. Once the payment is received the medication is then sent on a next day delivery service via DPD. This is so much better than the route of access I was used to.
What was the quality of the medication like?
I had been prescribed an Indica Flos as my first flower and was to vape 0.3mg three times per day, just as I had been doing previously.
I saw no difference in changing from black market cannabis to medicinal cannabis, apart from the flower felt cleaner and lighter to vape which is a huge positive for patients who already have pre-existing conditions which affect breathing.
The sweet lemon terpenes of the flower captivated my nose with the undertones of woody earth to compensate. The flower is a very uplifting high energy flower that is great for managing my autism in the daytime.
I have found my anxiety to be reduced and my productivity increasing. I can concentrate on my studies and spend longer improving my work and myself.
I also feel I am closer with my loved ones due to the fact that my mood is better managed, along with my communication issues, once I have consumed my medication.
The clinicians I have met have been nothing but caring professionals with a real passion to help and therefore deserve a special thank you from not only myself but other patients who have been benefited.
If it were not for the clinics, I would still be at a loss and constantly being taken advantage of by black market providers, just so I could live what would be classed as a normal life.
I would like to place a special thank you here to all the doctors, clinicians and pharmacists who are all involved in the process of supplying my medicine and that of other patients, as if it were not for you our lives would be an endless struggle.
Why should I consider getting a private prescription?
Overall, I would recommend any person suffering from a condition that could be helped by medicinal cannabis to look into seeking private treatment and not to be put off by the costs.
Yes, private medicine is considered expensive initially, but so is the high standard of flower you have to purchase on the black market which is not regulated.
To be able to converse with a qualified doctor is so much more reliable and healthier for those suffering anxiety and stress disorders like myself.
I have found the improvements to my quality of life and mental health have been staggering in just four weeks of receiving the flower and I hope for this to continue in the years to come.
For anyone thinking about beginning their journey with medical cannabis I would implore you to conduct your research into which clinics could help you and to take control of your medication once and for all.
I would also like to take this time to remind current and potential patients that we are very lucky to have access to such a service considering the legislation surrounding medical cannabis.
We all need to show the same respect to keep this help service alive and not risk patients returning to old routes which worsen their health and society as a whole.
“Doctors laughed in my face when I told them cannabis helped”
A disabled woman living with severe chronic pain is fundraising for medical cannabis treatment
A disabled woman who lives with severe chronic pain has launched a fundraiser in a desperate attempt to access medical cannabis.
Some days the pain is so bad that Heather can’t get out of bed.
She will lie there screaming and crying because it hurts too much to move.
“It’s like you’ve been run over by a truck, but the truck never stops rolling, it’s just constantly running over you, and then someone is beating you with a sledgehammer at the same time,” says the 40-year-old.
“It’s just horrific. You can’t get comfortable because of the pain, but it hurts too much to move. Think of the worst thing you can imagine times a million, and then maybe that’s something close to what it’s like.
She adds: “It’s like that every second of every day, it never stops.”
When her pain is not at a nine or 10 on the pain scale, Heather can just about manage to get out of bed and wash or shower, before moving downstairs to sit in her chair, where she’ll spend the majority of the rest of the day.
“I don’t get up at until 11am because I have also have chronic fatigue, and the opioids make that worse,” she explains.
“Then I’ll hobble to my chair and sit on my laptop clicking links on YouTube because it hurts to type. I’ll take naps, I might go back to bed if the pain is too bad.
“Around dinner time I’ll start watching movies and then at 9.30pm I’ll go to bed and lay there for the rest of the night.”
Heather began experiencing unexplained pain around a decade ago. Despite numerous trips to the doctor they never investigated beyond sending her to physiotherapy, which she says made things worse.
“Years passed and it got worse but the doctors still didn’t know what’s going on,” she says.
“They would say ‘oh you just need to do some stretches’- no one sent me for tests or an MRI to investigate.”
The about four years ago her condition deteriorated rapidly.
“I became bed bound. I’d be screaming at night and crying because I couldn’t sleep, it was unbearable,” says Heather.
“I spent around a year trying to find a doctor who would listen and eventually I was sent to a pain clinic.”
Unable to work, Heather had to give up her admin role and couldn’t walk or stand for more than a couple of minutes.
She was gradually prescribed stronger and stronger opioids until she became reliant on Fentanyl patches.
“It did get me out of bed and knocked my pain down to about a seven, which was brilliant, but I get withdrawal symptoms between patches, such as chills and sweating,” she says.
“It’s now been two years and my pain is back up to a nine. I have to put the patches on every 48 hours instead of 72. I know it’s only a matter of time before my pain is at 10 again, every day I’m a little bit closer.”
In light of the new National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines published earlier this year, Heather now worries that even this limited option will be taken away from her.
The regulatory body has advised doctors against prescribing common painkillers such as opioids and paracetamol for chronic primary pain conditions, in favour of exercise and alternative treatments such as acupuncture.
“The doctors have told me there is nothing else for me and now they want me off opioids too,” says Heather.
“I worry about it every day. Now at least I’m still getting some pain relief, but if they were to take that away and leave me with nothing, that sounds like hell.
“Fentanyl was a lifesaver, before I had that I wanted to die, it was just unbearable, having that level of pain every second of the day. I can’t live like that.”
But Heather does have another option, in cannabis medicines.
A recent study by Drug Science found medical cannabis was safer and had more benefits than 12 of the most commonly prescribed painkillers, in patients with chronic neuropathic pain (CNP).
Authors concluded that medical cannabis contributes more to patients’ quality of life and is more favourable in terms of side-effects such as cognitive impairment, dizziness, constipation, affect disorders, overdose toxicity, respiratory depression, withdrawal, and dependency.
Before she became too ill to work, Heather would travel abroad and take holidays in countries where cannabis was legal, such as Amsterdam and the US.
“I’d save up money and take holidays just to get pain relief,” she admits.
“It was like going away and winning the lottery, I was never pain free but it knocked my pain down to a six and helped with the stiffness for my sciatica and migraines as well.”
But back in the UK she came up against a brick wall.
“When I first told my doctor that cannabis worked he started laughing and said I should move to the US,” says Heather.
“There’s been many times when I’ve had doctors laugh in my face when I’ve told them cannabis helps. They say there is nothing they can do, some of them don’t even know it’s legal.”
Heather says she has tried contacting her MP for help and has even been in touch with NICE directly, but is constantly told there is “nothing they can do”.
She started her blog, Chronic Heather to document her journey and to raise awareness of the struggles facing her and other patients trying to access cannabis medicines on the NHS.
“I’m sure a lot of people won’t even believe what I’m writing, because it’s so crazy to think that this is how people are being treated in England in 2021,” she says.
“The NHS is great if you break your leg or have something it can treat, but I don’t think the care is there for people with chronic conditions.”
Many chronic pain patients are now accessing legal prescriptions for cannabis medicines via private clinics, with the help of schemes such as Project Twenty21.
Preliminary results from the study, which aims to create Europe’s largest body of evidence for the safety and efficacy of medical cannabis found the treatment improves quality of life by more than 90 percent – with the vast majority of patients (56 percent) reporting chronic pain as their primary condition.
But with Heather’s only income the £300 a month she receives through disability benefits, even this option is out of reach for her.
“I’m not eligible for Employment and Support Allowance due to not having paid enough national insurance as I was only working part time before being unable to work at all.
“I don’t even have the money to access cannabis illicitly. I have considered growing but this costs money too and I don’t know if I could physically do it.
“I would be tempted if my pain gets worse, but I don’t want to break the law, why should I risk getting arrested? I shouldn’t have to, it’s legal.”
Instead, Heather has launched a fundraising campaign to try to raise at least £2,260 to fund private prescriptions and consultations for a year.
Speaking to a UK clinic at a free eligibility interview, doctors have already suggested Heather try a mix of two products which would be £300 a month, but she says this is “too much to ask for”.
“Asking for the two products which were recommended to me would be £4,060 a year, so I’m only aiming for the minimal 1g a day, which would still help although nowhere near as much,” she explains.
“If I could have a year with my pain reduced every single day and not having to worry about the money it would be absolutely amazing, it would be a dream.”
Heather adds: “I need the hope of having some pain-less days, so I can have more of a life.”
Donate to Heather’s fundraising page here
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