If you’ve spent much time in the fibromyalgia community lately, then you know there’s quite a bit of interest in using CBD oil for fibromyalgia pain.
It’s not hard to understand why. So many of us, myself included, haven’t been able to find relief from pharmaceuticals, either because they just don’t work or we can’t take them due to side effects.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, then you know I’m always up for trying new products that might improve my fibromyalgia symptoms. I know there’s no cure for fibro, but I do believe there are treatments out there that will help us better manage our symptoms.
Over the past few months, I’ve read about others’ experiences with using CBD oil for fibromyalgia, and I decided I wanted to try it. My experience with CBD oil is what inspired this post (but more about that later).
There’s a lot of misinformation online about what CBD oil is, what it’s used for and its legality. This post addresses some of those concerns.
The facts about using CBD oil for fibromyalgia
- CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of more than 85 cannabinoids that make up the cannabis plant. Most people are familiar with CBD’s close family member, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabinoid that gives marijuana users a pleasant (at least to some people) high.
- Unlike THC, CBD won’t get you high. Some tout it as a great alternative for people who are seeking the medicinal benefits of cannabis, but who gave up smoking pot when they graduated college (or never used it in the first place).
- You’ll read claims online that CBD cures epilepsy, cancer, MS and any number of other diseases. These statements are over-inflated. There are anecdotal accounts of CBD-rich products helping to control epilepsy, especially in children, as well as stories of others who feel CBD has improved fibromyalgia and other conditions. However, at the time of this update, there is no research to prove CBD oil actually relieves fibromyalgia pain.
- In 2015, Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse, testified before U.S. senators, calling for more research into CBD and its potential benefits. There have been research studies on the benefits of using THC/CBD combination products to treat certain conditions, and those results look promising. But more research is needed to figure out how CBD works and how it might be used to treat certain conditions.
- CBD is sold in many forms. It’s commonly sold online as an oil/tincture. There also are CBD-rich strains of marijuana that can be smoked or vaped, as well as CBD-rich ointments and other preparations.
- There are two varieties of CBD oil: the kind that comes from CBD-rich marijuana strains and the kind that comes from hemp. There are big differences between the two. CBD oil derived from CBD-rich marijuana strains is usually sold by regulated dispensaries in states where marijuana has been legalized, so there is some semblance of safety and product reliability. Hemp CBD oil is sold online and in stores, and is not regulated by any government agency. That creates a buyer beware situation, where consumers have no way of really knowing what they are buying.
- Here’s why that’s a big concern: Hemp is a “bio-accumulator,” meaning it easily sucks up toxins from soil. (It’s actually been planted at Chernobyl to help with radiation cleanup.) Since hemp CBD is not regulated, there’s no way for consumers to really know how or where the hemp plant was grown. That means if you use hemp-based CBD, you could be unknowingly ingesting harmful pesticides and chemicals.
- Some unscrupulous hemp CBD sellers are ripping off customers. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has cited numerous companies over the years for making illegal health claims and selling products containing little-to-no CBD.
- Now for the issue of CBD’s legality. Is it legal or not? Well, it depends on if your CBD product is made from marijuana or hemp. All marijuana-derived CBD products are still federally illegal because marijuana remains listed as a schedule I drug, equivalent to cocaine, heroin and other highly addictive and destructive drugs. At the state level, however, 47 states have passed legislation as of January 2019, allowing marijuana-based CBD for medicinal uses. Thus far, the feds have not sought to challenge these state laws.
- Hemp-based CBD products became federally legal in December 2018.
- For my international readers: According to media sources, CBD oil is legal in the UK (hemp only), Canada (from licensed producers) and Australia (by prescription under special access).
My personal experience…
For the past year, I have battled horrible leg pain and general overall body aches. Not much relieves my pain other than knocking myself out at bedtime with a dose of Flexeril. But I can’t live life in a drugged stupor, so during the day, I have to suck it up and live with it.
I read about American Shaman hemp CBD oil in a Facebook group and decided to try it. When I received my oil, I used it sublingually every 6-8 hours. I was surprised by what happened over the next 24 hours. After my third dose of CBD oil, I noticed the pain in my lower extremities was greatly reduced. I continued putting the drops under my tongue for the next week until my sample bottle was empty, and as I did so, it relieved a lot of my pain. I have other fibro friends who report similar results.
Hemp CBD oil is not cheap, and I felt that I could find a better value through another online retailer. I ordered a second, much larger bottle for about the same price of my first one, thinking I was being a smart shopper.
That was a big mistake.
The new product required me to take a much larger dose, and even then, it didn’t relieve my pain. I have no way of knowing, of course, but I doubt there was very much CBD in that particular product. I ended up tossing the bottle in the garbage. $40+ wasted.
Update as of May 3, 2016…
I’ve been using the American Shaman CBD oil off and on for several months now. I get the greatest pain relief when I consistently use it every single day. Unfortunately, due to finances, I can’t afford to do that.
Since January, my fibromyalgia pain has intensified, and the hemp oil has become less effective. It takes more to get the desired pain relief. I’ve interviewed numerous cannabis experts over the past year or so, and they all give me the same advice, which I’m now sharing with you: If you live in a state where cannabis is legal, then it is always better to use marijuana-based CBD oil purchased from a dispensary because it contains THC and other cannabinoids that have cumulative pain-fighting benefits. Buying from a dispensary also ensures you’re receiving a safe, reliable product.
Update as of Dec. 15, 2016…
I live in Delaware and was approved for my medical marijuana card in September. I’ve shared my experiences with using cannabis in this post.
Update as of May 17, 2019…
(This section contains an affiliate link.)
I’ve had my medical marijuana license now for almost three years. It’s rare that I use CBD products these days because I find THC-based products more effective for pain relief and sleep. However, I realize not everyone has access to medical marijuana. In those situations, I still believe hemp-based CBD products are a viable alternative to try.
There are literally thousands of companies that sell hemp CBD products online and in stores. Unfortunately, since these products continue to be unregulated, it’s easy to get ripped off with subpar products. In 2018, I wrote an article entitled, “How to choose hemp CBD oil,” which provides information on what to look for when shopping for a quality hemp CBD product.
But I still have readers who contact me almost every week, asking for hemp CBD brand recommendations. I currently recommend CBD products from Frida Botanicals, a company owned by Dr. Ginevra Liptan, a fibromyalgia specialist who also has fibromyalgia herself. I’ve worked with Dr. Liptan on a couple of projects over the years, and I trust the quality and potency of any products formulated by her. She sells a wonderful magnesium lotion, too!
For further information, I will direct you to ProjectCBD. It’s probably the most comprehensive, accurate website online for information related to CBD. ProjectCBD’s founder is a journalist, like myself, and he doesn’t sell any products on his site, so he has no “dog in the race,” so to speak. He does include a resource section for locating reliable, safe CBD products.
Have you tried CBD oil for fibromyalgia? Did it help? Leave a comment below!