Pain stemming from a variety of ailments, including fibromyalgia, which is associated with significant widespread pain, may be effectively reduced through the use of cannabidiol (CBD). That said, research on CBD and its impact on this condition has been limited thus far.
A recent survey assessed patterns of CBD use in fibromyalgia patients in an effort to better understand how often CBD is used, the reason for its use, and the viewpoint among patients with fibromyalgia about the effectiveness and safety of CBD to help alleviate their symptoms.
Approximately 2,700 fibromyalgia patients who used CBD were surveyed. Of those polled, about 30% used CBD in the past and one-third reported current CBD use; 38% of the survey participants claimed to have never used CBD, citing safety concerns. The patients currently using CBD or those who had used it in the past claimed to have consumed the cannabinoid to seek relief from their pain following inadequate relief from conventional medication.
Patients who used CBD did so for multiple fibromyalgia-related symptoms, including joint stiffness and muscle spasms, as well as poor sleep and anxiety. Those who used CBD typically reported improvement with symptoms, ranging from slight to much improvement as follows: 30.5% for pain, 40.1% for insomnia/sleep problems, 40.0% for anxiety, 20% for fatigue, 32.3% for depression, and 21.9% for memory/clarity of thought. Minor side effects were reported, with sleepiness being the most common.
It’s interesting to note that 95% of the survey respondents were female, so it is unknown if male patients use CBD at similar rates. Additionally, despite high usage rates, less than 30% reported discussing CBD with their physician.
The responses from those polled suggest that the use of CBD is common among fibromyalgia patients and that the cannabinoid is relatively effective at calming pain and subsequently the anxiety and lack of sleep that comes with it. Patients and their healthcare practitioners should discuss the use of CBD and its incorporation into a treatment plan for fibromyalgia.
Image Credit: Wolfgang Claussen
- Boehnke KF, et al. Cannabidiol use for fibromyalgia: prevalence of use and perceptions of effectiveness in a large online survey. The Journal Of Pain. 2021: S1526-5900(20)30117-6.