A small placebo-controlled trial has revealed that cannabis oil, containing THC, may significantly improve pain, fatigue and quality of life in people with fibromyalgia.
The small-scale study, published in the journal Pain Medicine involved 17 women suffering from fibromyalgia living in Brazil. The participants were given daily drops of cannabis oil or a placebo for eight weeks. They started with one drop before increasing to 3 or 4-a-day.
The cannabis oil contained 1.22mg of THC and 0.02mg of CBD per drop.
Participants self-reported their symptoms on a questionnaire every 10 days. There were few changes reported in the placebo group but the women on the cannabis oil reported significant improvements on a wide range of symptoms including pain, depression, anxiety and fatigue. They were more likely to ‘feel good’ and not miss work in comparison to the placebo group.
The researchers said,
“To our knowledge, this is the first randomised controlled trial to demonstrate the benefit of cannabis oil — a THC-rich whole plant extract — on symptoms and on quality of life of people with fibromyalgia. During the intervention, the impact of the intervention on quality of life in the cannabis group participants was evident, resulting in reports of well-being and more energy for activities of daily living. Pain attacks were also reduced, albeit subjectively, in frequency and intensity.”
The researchers came to the conclusion that cannabinoids could be a low-cost therapy for fibromyalgia patients and recommended it be added to the Brazilian public health care system.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body. Symptoms of fibromyalgia can include widespread pain, increased pain sensitivity, extreme tiredness, muscle stiffness, difficulty sleeping, problems with memory and concentration.
The reasons for fibromyalgia are unknown but anyone can develop fibromyalgia. It affects around 7 times as many women as men.
There is currently no cure for fibromyalgia but doctors may suggest medicines such as anti-depressants, painkillers, therapy or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Lifestyle changes, exercise or counselling may also help.
Can CBD oil be used for fibromyalgia?
It’s hard to say for sure due to a short supply of clinical data on this matter. There is some anecdotal evidence from patients who say CBD has definitively helped improve their symptoms.
It is important to note that CBD oil cannot contain high levels of THC. THC is the psychoactive element of cannabis oil used in the Brazilian study.
CBD oil has been researched in chronic pain conditions rather than fibromyalgia specifically. One study from 2018 suggests that CBD may help with chronic pain which is one of the more common complaints of fibromyalgia patients.
Trying a number of CBD oils to find the best one for you is a good place to start. Our CBD 101 section can help you find the right match.