An increasing number of people are using CBD oil for fibromyalgia pain. But does it work? Is it legal? Where can you purchase it? This post from Fed Up with Fatigue clears the air on all you need to know about CBD oil and fibromyalgia.
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.
And 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 productsthat might improve my fibro symptoms. I know there’s no cure for fibromyalgia, but I do believe there are products 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).
Another thing that’s inspired me is that there’s a lot of misinformation on the web about what CBD oil is, what it’s used for and its legality. So this post addresses some of those concerns. Let’s get started.
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 when they smoke it.
- 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 their particular condition (including fibromyalgia), but there are no actual CBD-only clinical trials to back up these claims. And, there’s no research available on if using CBD oil for fibromyalgia actually helps to relieve pain.
- In July, 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 industrial 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. Industrial 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.
- And 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 recently tested several brands of hemp CBD oil. They found little to no CBD in some bottles.
- Now for the issue of CBD’s legality. Is it legal or not? At the time of this post, 23 states and the District of Columbia have passed some form of marijuana legalization. Several other states have passed laws enabling access to CBD products. But in the eyes of the federal government, these state laws aren’t legitimate. The U.S. federal government lists cannabis as a schedule 1 drug, equivalent to cocaine, heroin and other highly addictive and destructive drugs. Because of this, all CBD oil, regardless of whether it’s derived from CBD-rich marijuana or industrial hemp, is illegal in the U.S. in the eyes of the federal government because it originates from the cannabis plant. Regardless of what you read online, the federal law applies to all CBD oil – even products touted as being “legal in all 50 states.”I know there will be people who will argue with me about this, so here is a copy of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s official statement on the legal status of CBD. I also verified CBD’s illegality with two U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration officers and several CBD advocates while researching this post and a future story that I’ve written for the Community Pain Center. (I will link that story when it publishes.)
- For my international readers: According to media sources, CBD oil is now legal in the UKand in Canada (from producers licensed by Health Canada’s medical marijuana program). CBD continues to be illegal in Australia, but I believe that country does have a medical marijuana law, which allows cannabis use for certain conditions.
- There is movement in the U.S. to change cannabis’ drug scheduling. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is currently studying the available medical research on cannabis, and it could order the DEA to reclassify cannabis to a lesser scheduling category. That opens the door for more and better cannabis-related research and for cannabis products to eventually be legalized, at least in some form.
- I don’t believe current CBD oil users in the U.S. need to be worried about being arrested by the feds. The Obama administration appears to be taking the stance of letting states legalize marijuana and open dispensaries. The feds could easily sweep into these large dispensaries in Colorado, California and other marijuana-friendly states and shut them down for breaking federal law. But they haven’t. And they also haven’t shut down retailers who are illegally selling hemp CBD oil online.
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 (American Shaman offers 40 percent off with the code FEDUP40; this is NOT an affilate link) in a Facebook group and decided to try it. When I received my oil, I used it sublingually (about 6 drops of the tincture in the blue bottle under my tongue) 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 the majority 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 much, much more CBD oil, and even then, I did not feel the same effect. 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 always afford to do that.
Since January, my fibromyalgia pain has intensified, and the hemp oil has become less effective. 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 cannabis-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.
I’m fortunate that I live in Delaware, a state where medical marijuana is approved for fibromyalgia. I’m in the process of gathering my medical records for a medical marijuana evaluation, so I can apply for my license and purchase cannabis-based CBD oil from my local dispensary. I’m anxious to see if cannabis-based CBD works better than hemp-based CBD. I’ll continue to update this post as my journey unfolds.