CBD and chronic fatigue syndrome

In the UK, a surprise 260,000 people they live with chronic fatigue syndrome, an invisible and often misunderstood disease that infringes on each and every aspect of life.

People with chronic fatigue are often told that they are “just tired” or “lazy,” or that medical tests have found “nothing wrong.” As a result, many are left without treatment, desperate for a way to improve their quality of life.

Over the years, cannabis research has advanced by leaps and bounds. It is becoming increasingly clear that a cannabinoid, CBD, can help relieve countless mental and physical health conditions. But could it provide much-needed relief for those living with chronic fatigue?

What is chronic fatigue syndrome?

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), also called myalgic encephalomyelitis (MS), is a long-term disorder characterized by extreme fatigue. Symptoms of MS / CFS include:

  • Feeling very tired all the time
  • He still feels tired after sleeping
  • Long recovery times after physical activity
  • Sleep problems
  • Memory and concentration problems

Some people with chronic fatigue syndrome may also experience muscle or joint pain, headaches, and dizziness. The severity of the symptoms varies from day to day, but the symptoms of fatigue usually last more than 6 months. Although CFS can affect anyone, it is most common in women in their 20s and 40s.

There is no known cause for chronic fatigue syndrome, but it is believed to be triggered by a viral or bacterial infection, a hormonal imbalance, or possibly a genetic influence. As a lasting consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic, there is now a new wave of long covid patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.

Because MS / CFS cannot be fully explained by an underlying medical condition, there is no specific diagnostic test. There is also no known cure for MS / CFS, but there are several ways to control the symptoms. This includes:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Energy management
  • Medications for pain or sleep

Many people with chronic fatigue will need to adjust to their long-term daily routine, taking steps to limit stress and minimize physical exertion. In recent years, more and more people have resorted to CBD as a way to control their fatigue symptoms, but is there any evidence that says it could help?

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the many active ingredients found in cannabidiol Cannabis sativa plant. It is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, that is, it cannot make you drugged. CBD, therefore, is proving to be very popular among those looking for some of the medicinal benefits of whole plant cannabis but without the intoxicating effects of the plant’s mind-altering molecule, THC.

CBD interacts with our body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), a complex cellular signaling network that is responsible for regulating our mood, appetite, sleep, pain levels, immune health, and more. By coordinating these biological functions, the ECS strives to maintain the stability of the body.

Its exact mechanisms of action are not yet known, but some researchers believe that CBD may modulate the activity of cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2. This, in turn, can improve the signaling of our body’s natural cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids.

That’s why CBD seems to have such widespread benefits for our mental and physical health; improving ECS ​​function can support the wide variety of biological functions that coordinate this system.

As a result, CBD appears to be effective in treatment rare forms of epilepsy and shows an immeasurable promise in the treatment of anxiety, inflammatory disordersand much more, but could it help people living with chronic fatigue?

Could CBD help with fatigue?

Results of a recent study suggest that whole-plant cannabis may be effective in treating fatigue. The researchers found that “cannabis in general produced improvements in fatigue symptoms,” but the researchers did not address the extent to which the effects are due to THC, CBD, or a combination of the two.

To date, no study has specifically investigated the effect of CBD on CFS. That said, there is some existing evidence to suggest that CBD may help relieve some of the symptoms related to the disease, making it a promising candidate for future research.

Despite the lack of research, countless anecdotal reports have suggested that CBD may help people living with chronic fatigue. Said Emma Franklin, who lives with CFS Cannabis Health News who believes that “CBD oil has been a really important part [her] recovery ”.

“I started taking CBD to help with CFS and anxiety and depression. Over a period of a few weeks, I began to sleep more easily … These improvements in sleep have meant that I have been able to return. at work after seven years without work … I have also seen great improvements in activity levels as my pain levels have increased. reduced “, shares Emma.

But while promising, the anecdotes are no substitute for hard data. As we await the results of future studies on CBD and ME / CFS, let’s take a look at the related evidence to support its use to combat fatigue.

CBD for CFS: The Evidence

In recent years, several studies have investigated the effects of CBD on fibromyalgia, a condition characterized by chronic pain and extreme fatigue. Although CFS and fibromyalgia are two separate conditions, there is a noticeable crossover in their symptoms. With growing evidence suggesting that cannabinoids could help people living with fibromyalgia, could the same be said of people with chronic fatigue syndrome?

In 2017, a review was published in Expert opinion on therapeutic targets which detailed a possible mechanism for the therapeutic action of CBD in chronic pain. The authors claim that CBD appears to reduce the activity of glia, a type of brain cell involved in central sensitization. Because hypersensitivity of the central nervous system is also a hallmark of chronic fatigue, these findings suggest that CBD may also be effective in treating MS / CFS.

Another theory for using CBD to manage CFS lies in the connection between inflammation and fatigue. Studies have found that patients with chronic fatigue syndrome have an abnormal disease high levels of cytokines, which are the proteins involved in promoting and maintaining inflammation. These have been shown to be “causally associated with [CFS] symptoms “.

Patients with CFS also present reduced levels of antioxidants. Similarly, studies have shown this oxidative stress (the imbalance between harmful free radicals and antioxidants in the body) is one of the main factors contributing to chronic fatigue.

In 2019, a review published a Antioxidants concluded that CBD has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Although this has not been explicitly proven in the context of fatigue, CBD can help rebalance inflammation and oxidative stress in the body and, in turn, reverse fatigue.

Could it make fatigue worse?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that CBD is “generally well tolerated with a good safety profile”, but has been shown to cause mild side effects in some people. These include nausea, loss of appetite and, surprisingly, fatigue.

This is obviously a potential contraindication to the use of CBD to control CFS. Although these side effects are usually resolved with the right dose, the common goal is to start low and increase the dose.

While this is a topic of dosage, there is some evidence to suggest that lower doses may be better for those with fatigue. This is because CBD is biphasic, meaning it can have opposite effects on the body depending on how much you take. A Review 2017 The article found that “low doses of CBD have a stimulating effect, while high doses have a sedative effect,” so this is something to keep in mind if you want to try CBD for fatigue.

If you are taking other medicines, it is also important to consider the risk of drug interactions while using CBD. For this reason, you should always consult a physician or medical professional before adding CBD to your treatment plan.

How to use CBD

While CBD is not currently an approved treatment for chronic fatigue, commercial products are widely available for those who think CBD could help. Unlike THC, which is only legally available by prescription in the UK, CBD is completely legal to buy and use, as long as the product contains less than 1 mg of THC per pack.

When it comes to deciding how to take your CBD, your options are far from limited. These are just some of our favorite types of CBD products:

CBD oil

Oils are probably the most popular way to take CBD. By dropping it under the tongue, CBD can quickly enter the bloodstream, so the benefits can be felt almost immediately. There are a variety of oils available. If you are unsure whether full spectrum, broad spectrum, or CBD isolation is best for you, check out our latest guide on CBD oil.

CBD rubbers

If the taste of CBD oil is not for you, CBD infused jelly beans are a great and delicious way to get your dose. They are usually less potent than oils, so you may need to increase the dose if necessary.

CBD capsules

Capsules are another way to experience the benefits of CBD oil without the taste. Because the encapsulated oil must pass through the digestive system, the effects take a little longer to begin (between 30 minutes and 2 hours). They should also be taken with food so that CBD can be properly absorbed in the stomach.

CBD vapors

Vaping is another quick way to introduce CBD into your bloodstream. A vaporizer is also portable, so it can provide immediate relief on the go. But it is important to note that the long-term effects of vaping are not fully understood, so approach this method with caution.

Want to try CBD but don’t know where to start? Take a look at ours CBD Beginner’s Guide

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