EducationCan CBD oil offer symptomatic relief for fibromyalgia?

Can CBD oil offer symptomatic relief for fibromyalgia?

9 min read

Kerry Charron

Can CBD oil offer symptomatic relief for fibromyalgia?


Fibromyalgia, a health disorder that affects about 1 in 20 people in the UK. Those affected endure persistent fatigue, chronic pain, and inflammation, among a range of other debilitating symptoms. These physical challenges also have a profound impact on mental well-being, regularly leading to anxiety, depression, and general frustration among fibromyalgia patients. Additionally, cognitive difficulties and insomnia may further exacerbate their condition.

The exact cause of fibromyalgia remains unclear, although some researchers suggest a genetic link. Others propose that physical injury or trauma plays a significant role in the development of this condition.

Given that conventional treatments may not always provide the necessary relief for fibromyalgia patients, many are now turning to complementary treatment options to help find the symptomatic alleviation they so sorely need. Among these alternatives medical cannabis and specifically CBD oil stands out as a prominent contender. This article aims to delve into the common symptoms of fibromyalgia, explore the potential benefits of CBD in alleviating these symptoms, and shed light on the effects of CBD oil.

What are the most common symptoms of fibromyalgia?

Symptoms of fibromyalgia can vary among patients, but there are several commonly observed symptoms associated with this condition. These include:

  • Increased pain sensitivity
  • Muscle aches
  • Disrupted sleep or insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Memory and concentration problems (also called “fibro-fog”)
  • Stomach distress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Frustration

Daily life for most individuals with fibromyalgia involves managing mild to moderate symptoms. Flare-ups can cause unbearable pain and stiffness. Fibromyalgia can impact a patient’s quality of life, so it is important to find therapeutic treatments that manage the mental and physical symptoms associated with this condition.

Common therapeutic options include pharmaceutical medication, therapy, and gentle exercises such as swimming or yoga. Some pharmaceutical medications have harsh side effects, so many patients are turning to CBD to supplement or replace conventional pharmaceutical treatments.

What is CBD oil?

CBD, short for Cannabidiol, is a cannabinoid compound produced by the cannabis sativa L. plant.

Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, CBD does not have any intoxicating effects. This means that it won't get you “high” or cause changes to your mental state when taken. While the current state of medical cannabis research is still in its infancy, many countries are beginning to legalize the therapeutic application of CBD. It is proving, through clinical and peer-reviewed research, to offer a range of therapeutic benefits including pain relief, anti-inflammatory effects, and anxiety reduction.

How does CBD interact with the body?

To explain how CBD, and other cannabinoids, interact with the body, let’s first look at the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This is a complex network of receptors (CB1 and CB2) and our own naturally produced endocannabinoids that interact with these receptors. When cannabinoids, such as CBD, interact with these receptors, it has an effect on the activity levels of various neurotransmitters and hormones, influencing the functioning of various bodily systems.

This is why CBD’s therapeutic effects are thought to be so widespread. These interactions between CBD and the endocannabinoid system are responsible for its ability to reduce inflammation, regulate mood, mediate pain, and promote relaxation. CBD has been shown to bind to the CB2 receptor, boost serotonin, and reduce the enzymatic breakdown of our own endocannabinoid (which leads to an increase in endocannabinoid presence).

Can CBD oil offer symptomatic relief for fibromyalgia?

When it comes to fibromyalgia, research has shown that taking CBD can have a positive impact on symptoms such as pain, fatigue, and sleep disturbances. Studies suggest that the interaction between CBD and the CB2 receptor helps reduce inflammation in the body and can help boost energy levels. This could explain why some patients with this condition report increased mobility when taking CBD oil.

CBD can also help reduce the psychological impact of fibromyalgia, with research indicating that CBD could be a safe and effective treatment option for anxiety and depression. This is due to the potential ability of CBD to interact with receptors involved in the regulation of serotonin, our body’s ‘happy hormone’.

Another common symptom experienced by those suffering from fibromyalgia is insomnia. A study looking at the use of CBD for sleep found that a single dose of CBD, taken before bed, improved the quality and duration of sleep among participants with chronic pain and anxiety-related conditions.

In terms of targeted research regarding CBD and fibromyalgia, the science is still somewhat limited. However, evidence supporting CBD application in chronic pain conditions is plentiful. There is one fascinating paper that we can look at, though.

Titled “Cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD) for the treatment of fibromyalgia”, this review found that

“many retrospective trials and patient surveys suggest the significant alleviation of pain, improvement in sleep, and abatement of associated symptoms.” and that “while the current evidence is still limited, emerging data does suggest a positive effect of cannabis in fibromyalgia.”

What is the timeframe for experiencing the effects of CBD?

That depends on a few key factors.

Firstly, the quality of the CBD product will have an impact on how long it takes to feel the effects. Lower-quality products may contain fewer cannabinoids that are not as readily absorbed by our endocannabinoid system – meaning you won’t experience any benefits at all, or they could take longer to develop.

The second factor is the method of administration. CBD oil can be taken by ingestion, sublingually (under the tongue), or vaped. Ingestion requires digestion and usually takes longer for effects to be felt than when CBD is absorbed directly into the bloodstream via sublingual absorption. It also becomes less bioavailable when it passes through the digestive tract, and so the amount of CBD that enters the bloodstream is reduced.

Inhalation through vaping, on the other hand, is almost immediately absorbed into the bloodstream. This means that effects can be felt within minutes, rather than hours. The same goes for sublingual administration, which bypasses the digestive system and is absorbed directly into the bloodstream, where it then enters the ECS.

Ultimately, it is hard to put an exact timeframe on how long it takes for CBD to work – as everyone’s body and metabolism is different. But generally speaking, most people report feeling more relaxed and experiencing relief from symptoms within 30 minutes to an hour.

How much CBD oil should you take?

Before we go into any dosage specifics, it is imperative to state that this is just a general guide. If you are interested in adding CBD oil to your current treatment plan, you should always talk to a doctor who is experienced in prescribing medicinal cannabis first. They will be able to provide you with advice tailored to your individual needs.

With that said, it is typically recommended that you start with a low dose and gradually increase it over time. This allows your body to slowly adapt to the CBD oil, while also allowing you to track its effects on your symptoms.

A good starting point is usually around 10-15 mg of CBD per day, taken in two doses of 5-7.5 mg each.

Are there any side effects related to CBD oil?

CBD is generally safe to use, and most people won’t experience any side effects. That said, if you are taking other medications, it is important to check with your doctor as there can be potential interactions.

The most common side effect of CBD oil is mild drowsiness, which can occur if the dose taken is too high. If this happens, you should reduce your dosage until it subsides.

Other side effects can include nausea, diarrhoea, fatigue and changes in appetite. If any of these occur, you should stop taking CBD oil and speak to a doctor immediately.


CBD oil has shown the potential to offer symptomatic relief for those suffering from fibromyalgia. While the body of research into CBD and fibromyalgia specifically needs to grow before any sweeping statements can or will be made, it does indicate that CBD may be a safe and effective treatment option for pain, fatigue, depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances related to the condition.

When considering using CBD oil for fibromyalgia, it is important to start with a low dose and gradually increase it while also working in close consultation with a medical professional. It is also vital to take note of any potential side effects and stop taking CBD oil immediately if these occur.

By doing your research, being aware of the potential risks and working closely with a doctor, it is possible to access the relief you need without worrying about the stigma. At Releaf, we can provide all the support and specialist consultations you require for that journey. Get in touch today and see how medical cannabis can help you.

It is important to seek medical advice before starting any new treatments. The patient advisors at Releaf are available to provide expert advice and support. Alternatively, click here to book a consultation with one of our specialist doctors.

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Kerry, with experience as a medicinal cannabis cultivation technician and expertise in business licensing applications, is passionate about developing educational content and advocating for better access to medical cannabis worldwide.

Our articles are written by experts and reviewed by medical professionals or compliance specialists. Adhering to stringent sourcing guidelines, we reference peer-reviewed studies and scholarly research. View our editorial policy.

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Editorial Team