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Cannabidiol (CBD) is a type of cannabinoid, a chemical compound naturally found in cannabis. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another type of cannabinoid, CBD doesn’t cause a feeling of being “high.”
Since 2018, when a federal bill legalized hemp cultivation and sales across the country, the availability of CBD products has increased dramatically. Some state laws still forbid the sale of hemp products, but many have adopted the federal government’s policy of legalization.
For decades, research into CBD and other cannabinoids has been limited because of these federal restrictions on hemp and cannabis. Research into CBD’s benefits is still new, but early studies show promising results. This is especially true for issues like sleep, anxiety, and pain.
But as with many health and wellness products, the market for CBD is largely unregulated.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t approve or police CBD products. It also doesn’t have specific guidelines for claims or terminology used by CBD companies.
Governance of CBD products, what little there is, remains largely up to the manufacturers themselves.
That makes it all the more important you do your own research before purchasing any CBD products. Understanding the markers of good CBD products can help you bypass inferior products and save money.
For people with fibromyalgia, a condition causing chronic pain and fatigue, CBD can be a helpful tool in a battery of treatment options.
While there’s no current cure for fibromyalgia, some lifestyle adjustments and self-care techniques may go a long way to alleviating symptoms of the condition. CBD may be a part of that treatment strategy.
Keep reading to learn about five CBD products that may be a good pick for people with fibromyalgia, and how you can use CBD for symptoms of this condition.
To look at CBD for fibromyalgia, let’s start with the basics of the condition and current medical treatments.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes pain all over the body. It can also cause:
- sleep problems
- cognitive disturbances
Treatment focuses on easing or reducing symptoms, and managing pain. These treatments include:
- medications, such as prescription and over-the-counter pain medications
- self-care strategies, including stress reduction and aerobic exercise
- lifestyle changes, such as adjustments to diet and sleep patterns
Researchers have looked at cannabis as a possible treatment for fibromyalgia symptoms.
CBD can help fibromyalgia, but research includes other cannabinoids, too
Most of the studies that have looked at managing fibromyalgia with cannabinoids have included THC in the dose. THC, or the active ingredient in cannabis that causes a “high,” isn’t legal in all U.S. states.
These studies have found that people with fibromyalgia experience some improvements in pain when taking CBD combined with THC.
But because the doses given to study participants have included THC, it’s not possible to say yet what effect CBD alone might have.
CBD, like THC, interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). This is a complex system responsible for signaling cells throughout the body.
Cannabinoids like THC and CBD can interact with your ECS. When they do, research tells us the ECS sends out signals that work to decrease inflammation and reduce feelings of pain and discomfort. Both of these benefits could help people with fibromyalgia.
For that reason, it may be more beneficial to look at CBD usage as a way to help some symptoms of fibromyalgia instead of treating the whole condition broadly.
In that regard, we see a number of successful studies already.
Research on CBD benefits
- Chronic pain. A 2018 research review reported that CBD may be able to treat chronic pain, such as what people with fibromyalgia experience.
- Sleep quality. A small
2019 studyfound that people who took CBD daily reported better sleep and less anxiety.
- Depression. Another
2018 research reviewfound that CBD usage may benefit conditions like depression, which do occur in people with fibromyalgia frequently.
Most of these studies also reported few, if any, adverse effects or problems with CBD usage. That may be reason enough for people living with fibromyalgia to try out CBD and see whether it helps.
We chose these products based on criteria we think are good indicators of safety, quality, and transparency. Each product in this article:
- is made by a company that provides proof of third-party testing by an ISO 17025-compliant lab
- is made with U.S.-grown hemp
- contains no more than 0.3 percent THC, according to the certificate of analysis (COA)
- passes tests for pesticides, heavy metals, and molds, according to the COA
We also considered:
- company certifications and manufacturing processes
- product potency
- overall ingredients
- indicators of user trust and brand reputation, such as:
- customer reviews
- whether the company has been subject to a
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warning letter
- whether the company makes any unsupported health claims
For fibromyalgia specifically, we looked for products that treated the most common symptoms. CBD products with additional ingredients that might target issues like joint pain and insomnia were also sought.
CBD products span a wide price range, with the majority of products being $25 to $75. Ingredients like carrier oils, scents, and other targeted elements may increase the cost of the product.
Some CBD products are worth a slightly higher price tag, but do your due diligence. Research the product before you buy to make sure the extra money you’re spending is going to pay off with a benefit you can’t get from another product.
Reputable, high-quality CBD products don’t have to be expensive.
- $ = under $30
- $$ = $30–$100
- $$$ = over $100
First-time CBD shoppers may be overwhelmed by the number of claims and the list of ingredients in CBD products. This can make the purchasing process confusing.
But you can prepare yourself with this list of common CBD terms. Knowing these terms can help you better understand what you’re purchasing.
Types of CBD
- Full-spectrum CBD: a CBD product that contains all the cannabinoids found in a particular cannabis plant
- Broad-spectrum CBD: a CBD product that contains all cannabinoids but THC
- Whole-plant CBD: another name for full-spectrum CBD
- CBD isolate: a highly purified extract that contains only CBD
Sources and active components of CBD
- Cannabis: a group of three plants from which CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids are extracted
- Hemp: a type of cannabis plant that has very little, if any, THC and is often used for industrial production
- Cannabinoids: the plant compounds naturally found in cannabis that produce a variety of effects when taken
- THC: the cannabinoid responsible for the “high” effect of cannabis
- Terpenes: the organic compounds that are responsible for aroma and flavor of cannabis
- CBD type: Full-spectrum
- CBD potency: 750 mg per 15-mL bottle, 3,000 mg per 60-mL bottle, or 6,000 mg per 120-mL bottle
- COA: Available on product page
Fibromyalgia symptoms can fluctuate. You may experience periods when pain and tenderness is more acute. For those times, a CBD product with a higher potency may be a good option.
It takes several hours to feel the effects of a CBD oil, so be careful not to take multiple doses of a high-potency product too closely together.
- CBD type: CBD isolate
- CBD potency: 300 mg of CBD extract per 355-mL bottle
- COA: Available online
Widespread pain and joint pain are common symptoms of fibromyalgia. Massage and stretching are two self-care techniques used to ease these symptoms.
Social CBD’s body lotion is designed to be relaxing and therapeutic, with ingredients that promote sleep, like chamomile and lavender. Use it to massage your joints and tender spots while also benefiting from the CBD’s inflammation- and pain-reducing qualities.
CBD doesn’t pass through skin easily, so it’s important any CBD topical or lotion you use has a high concentration of CBD for best results.
- CBD type: Full-spectrum
- CBD potency: 400 mg per 0.67-oz. container or 1,200 mg per 2-oz. container
- COA: Available on product page
Like the CBD lotion above, this balm contains ingredients that can help with other symptoms of fibromyalgia, including joint pain and fatigue. The invigorating scent of menthol and peppermint oil may increase your level of alertness.
What’s more, the organic mango butter and organic beeswax make massaging sore joints or tender spots easier. Customers also have good things to say about the product in dozens of reviews.
- CBD type: Broad-spectrum
- CBD potency: 1,000 mg per 30-mL bottle
- COA: Available online
If you prefer a CBD product that has no THC, an all-purpose broad-spectrum CBD oil is a good option. This Lord Jones Royal Oil also contains no flavorings, colors, or additives. It’s a good option for regular CBD use, and it has high rankings from reviewers for bright flavor and simple ingredient list.
- CBD type: Full-spectrum
- CBD potency: 10 mg CBD per gummy
- Count: 60 gummies per package
- COA: Available online
The Recovery Gummies, which have a serving size of 2 gummies for 20 mg per dose, are made with a high-CBD, low-THC strain. They’re also colored with fruit and vegetables juices. Charlotte’s Web also make a gummy that’s designed to help with insomnia or sleep disturbances, a common issue in people with fibromyalgia.
CBD products can feel a bit like a puzzle, one where you don’t really know the end result. Claims and terminologies can be confusing, even misleading.
But with research and a few pointers on finding the most reputable brands and products, you can be on your way to purchasing the right CBD product for the benefits you’re seeking.
Spotting a reputable brand or company
Online reviews are an excellent place to start when seeking out a CBD source. The experiences of others can tell you a lot about the product, its quality, and the company’s dependability.
But don’t take word of mouth as the only measure of reputation. Consider also how the company presents its products and the results you can expect.
Statements of potency are meaningless without reputable third-party testing results.
Brands that take the time and effort to have third-party testing completed will likely be eager to share those results with you both online and in stores. If they don’t, consider that a red flag.
Confusing terms will confuse
Some CBD ingredient terms can be puzzling. For example, hempseed oil is sometimes used as a carrier oil in CBD products. It’s a neutral oil that may be used topically, or it may be used as part of a mixture of other products that do contain CBD.
But hempseed oil and other hempseed products don’t contain CBD. Instead, you need to make sure your product’s label includes CBD, cannabidiol, or hemp extract.
If the label says hempseed oil, hemp seeds, or Cannabis sativa, you’re buying a product that has no CBD.
Accessing the rest of the label
Carrier oils like grapeseed oil, coconut oil, and MCT oil are frequently used to house CBD or hemp extracts for easier use. These oils can stabilize the cannabinoid and preserve it for longer-term storage.
But as mildly flavored as these oils are, they often do have a taste. Consider how a tincture tastes if you plan to take it plain.
In addition, some CBD products like gummies are made with added ingredients for flavor and color. Extracts and oils may also be added for additional flavor. Sweeteners are often added, too.
Sweeping claims may be too good to be true
The FDA doesn’t monitor or test CBD products. (The agency will, however, issue warnings to companies it sees making unsubstantiated claims.)
That leaves a lot of the labeling and claims from CBD companies up to them — and often their marketing departments.
Keep a very simple rule in mind: If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Reputable brands will offer guidance on the expected benefits, and they’ll turn to their third-party certificates of analysis to back up their products’ potencies.
Taking claims into perspective
Not every claim made by a CBD company carries weight. For example, labels may claim to be made from “organic hemp.” If that’s important to you, be sure to seek it out in the products you’re considering.
However, keep in mind that no U.S. agency regulates this claim, so it very well could not be true.
The same goes for the phrase “U.S.-grown.” This claim can be difficult to verify, and it’s not regulated for authenticity.
Deciding on a CBD form
Some brands make specific products to target specific issues, like CBD oils for pain. Often, they add additional ingredients that have been shown to be helpful to those conditions.
CBD gummies and oils are perhaps the simplest CBD product to use. They’re also portable and discreet.
CBD gummies are premeasured with set doses in each gummy. It’s easy to know and change your dose.
Oils and tinctures are often taken under the tongue. It takes several hours for the effects of the cannabinoid to be felt when taken this way.
Topical CBD products, like lotions and balms, often need to be highly concentrated. That’s because CBD doesn’t easily pass through the skin barrier.
Vaporized CBD is a fast way to experience the effects of CBD, but not the healthiest. People with lung conditions, sensitivities to smoke, or who live with others who do, should avoid this option.
For more information on CBD dosing, talk with the staff at the dispensary or store where you plan to purchase. If you’re buying online, many companies offer live chats or respond to emails.
Some products take a long period of time to kick in before you can feel the effects. Use a small amount your first few times until you know what to expect. Then, if you feel like you need more for the right effect, increase your dose a little bit.
Trying a new product?
A good rule of thumb is to always start low with your first doses. Whether you’re taking CBD for the first time or just trying a new CBD product, it’s wise to start low and add later.
Most CBD studies have found few, if any, side effects. But it’s important to know that some side effects are possible, and you should consider them before trying CBD.
Possible adverse effects of CBD use include:
- changes in appetite
- weight changes
- interactions with medications and dietary supplements
- interactions with some foods, like grapefruit
People taking CBD products by mouth should avoid eating a high fat meal with the product. If you take them together, the fat in the food may increase the concentrations of CBD in your blood. This could increase the risk of side effects and adverse events.
That’s why it’s a good idea to talk with a doctor or other healthcare provider before you begin trying CBD. Together, you can look for any possible interactions that could occur between the CBD and any medications you’re taking.
Your healthcare provider may also be able to advise you on other considerations to keep in mind when looking for a product.
CBD research remains in its early stages, but the research available holds promise for people with fibromyalgia and accompanying symptoms like pain and insomnia.
As more is understood about how CBD affects the body’s pain receptors, CBD may become another part of the array of fibromyalgia treatment options.
If you have this condition and are considering CBD, it’s important to find a product that meets your lifestyle and helps you face the issues you want to address.
If possible, talk with a healthcare provider about your interest and anything you should consider before taking your first dose.
Is CBD Legal? Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but are legal under some state laws. Check your state’s laws and those of anywhere you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be inaccurately labeled.