What is CBD?
Cannabidiol or CBD is a non-intoxicating compound found in Cannabis sativa that has become widely available since 2018 and is advertised to help with pain, sleep, and anxiety. However, little is known about how CBD interacts with fibromyalgia.
So what did we do? We partnered with the University of Michigan to investigate whether, why, and how people with fibromyalgia use CBD. We asked for your help, and together we collected over 2,700 responses from all 50 states in the USA. Our findings act as a snapshot of perceptions towards CBD among people with fibromyalgia to help guide future research.
What did we find?
- Over 60% of participants currently use or have used CBD for fibromyalgia symptoms.
- 38% never used CBD, 29% had used CBD in the past, and 33% currently used CBD.
- Participants who had never used CBD cited safety concerns, like drug-drug interactions, side effects, and lack of regulation for CBD products.
- Most participants who used CBD (64%) did so because of inadequate medication relief.
- Participants who discontinued CBD did so because it did not work or because of expense.
- Participants used CBD for pain and other symptoms.
- Participants used CBD for 3 symptoms on average, most commonly pain, anxiety, sleep problems, joint stiffness, and muscle spasms.
- Across all symptoms, participants reported mild to moderate relief on average.
- CBD was reported to be generally well-tolerated and safe.
- 49% of participants reported no side effects.
- Of the 51% who reported side effects, the most common side effects were minor: sleepiness (52%) and dry mouth (36%).
- Most participants disclosed CBD use to their healthcare providers.
- 68% of participants disclosed CBD use to their doctor.
- Only 33% of participants asked their doctor how to use CBD.
Why are these results important?
Our results help us understand CBD’s medical potential and highlight the need for more rigorous studies. Because we conducted a cross-sectional survey (done at a single point in time), we cannot independently verify the effects reported by participants. These results also show that we must develop guidance for physicians and healthcare workers so they can appropriately help fibromyalgia patients who are interested in using CBD.
The common use of CBD for fibromyalgia also highlights the importance of properly regulating CBD so consumers know they are taking safe, standardized products.
- Boehnke, K.F., Gagnier, J. J., Matallana, L., and Williams, D.A., 2021. “Cannabidiol Use for Fibromyalgia: Prevalence of Use and Perceptions of Effectiveness in a National Survey”. Journal of Pain, In press.