If you had to deal with chronic, debilitating pain that made it hard to sleep and carry out day-to-day responsibilities, how would you cope? That’s the question millions of people with fibromyalgia have to answer every day. Fibromyalgia – a condition that causes pain and stiffness throughout the body – can seriously impair a person’s quality of life. No one knows what causes this condition, and although there are various ways to treat the accompanying pain, there is no cure.
Fibromyalgia symptoms can be severe enough to interfere with day-to-day tasks. Because of this, finding an effective treatment is essential for most people who have this condition. Several pharmaceutical medications for fibromyalgia are on the market, but they come with undesirable side effects ranging from dizziness to suicidal thoughts. For those who want a natural alternative to pharmaceutical drugs, cannabidiol (often called CBD) and other cannabis-based treatments may be a safe, non-toxic option.
How Does Fibromyalgia Affect Quality of Life?
Fibromyalgia isn’t a condition to take lightly. It affects five million people in the United States and millions of others around the world. The majority of sufferers are women between the ages of 25 and 60, but anyone can have this condition, including men and children.
It’s not known what causes fibromyalgia. Currently, researchers believe that genetics may play a role in the development of the condition – many people who have fibromyalgia have at least one relative who also suffers from it. Infections, injuries, or a traumatic experience, such as being in a car accident or going to war, may also be involved in the development of fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia affects the way the brain processes pain, making people more sensitive to discomfort. Sensations that wouldn’t bother most people may be excruciating to someone who lives with this condition. This can have severe and far-reaching consequences in every area of an individual’s life. Besides causing pain and soreness throughout the body, fibromyalgia can also cause stiffness, numbness, and restless leg syndrome. It can make getting a good night’s sleep next to impossible, and it can even make thinking and concentration more difficult. People with fibromyalgia may have a difficult time holding down a job or tending to other mundane responsibilities such as housework. This can have mental repercussions such as depression and anxiety.
CBD: A Potential Treatment for Fibromyalgia
Cannabidiol, or CBD, may be a promising treatment for the pain and other symptoms of fibromyalgia. CBD is one of the many naturally occurring chemicals found in the cannabis plant. Unlike its better-known cousin, THC, cannabidiol has no psychoactive effects, but it does have many potent medicinal benefits, including the ability to ease pain, reduce nausea, and soothe inflammation in the body.
Some people object to using cannabis to treat their symptoms because they don’t want to smoke. Fortunately, smoking cannabis isn’t necessary to get the benefits of CBD. Most people who use CBD take it in the form of hemp oil. This CBD-rich oil can be taken sublingually or used as a suppository.
The Effects of Cannabis on Fibromyalgia
Although the FDA has not approved the use of cannabis or cannabidiol to treat any medical condition, the studies that have been conducted so far – as well as a growing body of anecdotal evidence – indicate that cannabis-based treatments can relieve fibromyalgia symptoms effectively and safely.
Cannabis and CBD help to ease pain by interacting with the body’s natural endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in regulating pain. Cannabis-based treatments reduce inflammation and trigger the body’s opioid system to produce more natural painkilling chemicals. One medical hypothesis is that fibromyalgia results from an underactive endocannabinoid system, so the introduction of phytocannabinoids – compounds like cannabidiol that are extracted from the cannabis plant – can help restore the system to working order.
Cannabidiol and other cannabis-based treatments can do more than just ease pain, though. They can also promote sleep and even treat the anxiety and depression that often go along with fibromyalgia. This multi-functionality makes cannabidiol a particularly favorable treatment option for fibromyalgia patients and researchers.
Fibromyalgia is a life-altering condition, but if managed properly, it doesn’t have to stop you or your loved ones from living a full life. It’s important to find a treatment that works for you, because untreated fibromyalgia can be detrimental to a person’s happiness, relationships, and ability to work. For people who don’t want to risk the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs, cannabidiol and other cannabis-based treatments may be a good option for treating fibromyalgia.