People with fibromyalgia substitute CBD for opioids to manage pain

As the ravages of the opioid epidemic lead many to avoid these potent pain relievers, a significant number of people with fibromyalgia are finding an effective replacement in products containing CBD, a new discovery finds Michigan Medicine Study.

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is the second most common cannabinoid in the cannabis plant and has been marketed for everything from mood stabilization to pain relief, without the intoxicating effects produced by the most common cannabinoid. , THC. THC, which stands for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is the ingredient in marijuana that makes people feel high.

The cannabis industry has exploded, aided by the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana in US states and the removal of hemp-derived CBD from Schedule 1 status – restricted to non-medicinal drugs currently accepted and with high potential for abuse – at the federal level.

Previous research shows that some people are replacing medical cannabis (often with high concentrations of THC) with opioids and other pain relievers, signaling that cannabis provides better pain relief and reduces side effects. However, there is much less data on the use of CBD.

“CBD is less harmful than THC because it is not intoxicating and has less potential for abuse,” said Kevin Boehnke, PhD, a researcher in the Department of Anesthesiology and the Center for Chronic Pain Research and tiredness. “If people can find the same relief without the side effects of THC, CBD can be a useful harm reduction strategy.”

Boehnke and his team interviewed people with fibromyalgia about their use of CBD for the treatment of chronic pain.

“Fibromyalgia is not easy to treat, often involving multiple drugs with significant side effects and modest benefits,” Boehnke explained. “In addition, many alternative therapies, such as acupuncture and massage, are not covered by insurance.”


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For this study, the team focused on 878 people with fibromyalgia who reported using CBD to better understand how they use CBD products.

The University of Michigan (UM) team found that more than 70 percent of people with fibromyalgia who used CBD substituted CBD for opioids or other pain relievers. Of these participants, many reported that they reduced their use or stopped taking opioids and other pain relievers as a result.

“I didn’t expect this level of substitution,” Boehnke said, noting that the rate is quite similar to the rate of substitution reported in the medical cannabis literature. People who reported using CBD products that also contained THC had higher chances of substitution and reported greater symptom relief.

Still, the finding that products containing only CBD also relieved pain and substituted for pain relievers is promising and deserves future study, noted Boehnke.

The team noted that much of the widespread use of CBD occurs without medical advice and in the absence of relevant clinical trials. “Even with this lack of evidence, people are using CBD, substituting it for drugs and thus saying it is less harmful and more effective,” he said.

Boehnke stressed the need for more controlled research on how CBD can provide these benefits, as well as whether these benefits may be due to the placebo effect.

Clinically, it is imperative to open up avenues for discussion of the use of CBD for chronic pain, said Boehnke, for drug safety reasons as well as to “strengthen the therapeutic alliance and improve patient care.” .

– This press release was originally published on the Michigan Medicine – University of Michigan website


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About Hector Hedgepeth

Hector Hedgepeth

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