Patients with fibromyalgia experience a wide range of symptoms, as well as chronic pain – can CBD help?
Fibromyalgia is described by the NHS as a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body.
It is not known what causes it, although it is believed it may be triggered by physical or emotional stress, and, as yet, there is no cure.
As well as pain, patients report a variety of other debilitating symptoms, including tiredness and low mood, many of which may be alleviated by CBD.
Pain and inflammation
Recent research suggest that fibromyalgia may be partly caused by a deficiency of endocannabinoids – naturally-produced neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors in our bodies.
Therefore, CBD can be an effective pain reliever, increasing the endocannabinoids that the body cannot produce itself.
Furthermore, CBD is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties, which can add another element of pain relief for fibromyalgia sufferers.
When fibromyalgia flares up, patients often report being in too much pain to sleep. Unfortunately, being tired or run down can exacerbate the condition, which leads the sufferer into a vicious cycle.
And of course, the effect of long-term sleep disturbances is fatigue – another symptom many fibromyalgia sufferers report.
However, research has found that, as well as easing pain, CBD may also aid restful sleep in and of itself. There are CBD receptors in the part of the brain responsible for maintaining sleep cycles; an animal study has shown that activating those receptors with CBD can help induce sleep.
For those patients suffering fatigue, CBD can also help; at low concentrations, CBD can promote wakefulness and energy, strengthening the cells that cause sluggishness to improve focus and mental clarity.
The combination of a pain-relieving and sedative effect mean that CBD can be used as a dual approach to gets a good night’s sleep, as well as helping you feel more alert during the day.
With chronic pain and insomnia, it’s perhaps unsurprising that depression can be yet another symptom of fibromyalgia; sufferers are up to three times as likely as the general population to suffer with low mood.
Happily, this is one of the areas where CBD is most commonly used; in fact, mental health is one of the most popular reasons for its use. Studies have discovered that the compound almost certainly has both anti-depressant and anti-anxiety properties, thanks to its positive effect on serotonin receptors in the brain.
Many sufferers also report symptoms of what is known as ‘fibro fog’; a cognitive condition affecting memory and concentration.
While cannabis in its original form – which contains high levels of the psychoactive THC – can been associated with impaired cognitive function, studies have found that the use of CBD oil can have the opposite effect and actually boost cognition.
With no cure as such, fibromyalgia patients often find themselves reliant on a cocktail of prescription medications to deal with their debilitating symptoms.
However, CBD is also an option for patients to consider, as it has a positive impact on many of the effects of the condition, all in one safe-to-use, easily-available compound.
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