Endocannabinoid Deficiency Suspected As Cause For Fibromyalgia


For decades, since fibromyalgia disproportionately affected women, those who suffered from its often debilitating effects were often labeled as “hysterical women.” Many doctors would not even acknowledge that it was a legitimate physical disorder and called women hypochondriacs. It was often referred to as a “psychosomatic disorder.” Over the decades, the medical community has finally recognized it as a physical disorder, but has only speculated as to its underlying cause. The conventional Western medical treatment consisted of 3 pharmaceuticals, none of which helps with the symptoms but produces plenty of side effects. The 3 drugs are Lyrica, Cymbalta, and Savella.

Of the 41 qualifying conditions in the Illinois MCPP, fibromyalgia is the most common disorder of those who have applied for a card. Medical cannabis has been anecdotally shown to reduce many of the symptoms of fibromyalgia including pain, fatigue, sleep problems, digestive problems, and mental fog. With no relief provided by pharmaceuticals, many desperate fibromyalgia sufferers are turning to medical cannabis as a last resort and have been ecstatic with the results. I know patients who have been so incapacitated by fibromyalgia that they were unable to get out of bed, let alone work. Many have resumed activities that they never expected to do again in their lives, including working and exercising. It has been literally a “lifesaver” for many.

The question is why does cannabis seem to work so well? The answer, according to Dr. Ethan Russo, medical director of PHYTECS, is that those who have fibromyalgia suffer from Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CED). When you replenish the depleted endocannabinoid system with the necessary cannabinoids, the symptoms disappear. Think of it in similar terms of someone with a Vitamin B deficiency feeling much better after taking supplements. For those who have studied the endocannabinoid system (ECS), you will know that its main function is to help the body maintain homeostasis.  When the body is in homeostasis, it is free from disease.

The ECS consists of cannabinoid receptors, C1 and C2, which are found in the brain, spinal cord, nerves, the stomach, and other organs. It also controls many of our physiological processes such as pain, mood, memory, and appetite. Our bodies naturally produce endocannabinoids, similar to those in cannabis. That keeps our ECS functioning properly. When the endocannabinoids are depleted, we experience disorder and disease.

Those with severe fibromyalgia know, only too well, all the symptoms of this disorder. Pain is typically the worst, coupled with incapacitating fatigue. Irritable bowel syndrome and migraine are also very common symptoms. Russo is convinced that this is an indication of ECS deficiency. He purposed this theory as far back as 2001. Recent research studies support this theory with evidence of cannabis usage decreasing pain, improving sleep and relieving gastric distress.

CED is based on the theory that there is a link between brain disorders and neurotransmitter deficiencies. Think dopamine shortage with Parkinson’s disease and serotonin and norepinephrine with depression. The best evidence for the CED theory is from an Italian migraine study. The results showed reduced levels of anandamide, an endocannabinoid, in the cerebrospinal fluid of chronic migraine sufferers versus healthy control subjects. The ECS is known to regulate the transportation of food in the digestive tract as well as the release of digestive juices to break down food and inflammation. CED would account for digestive disorders like IBS which almost always accompany fibromyalgia.

There is much anecdotal evidence but little research evidence to substantiate Dr. Russo’s theory. He would like to conduct randomized controlled trials to prove or disprove the existence of CED. MRI and PET scans may one day be able to detect endocannabinoid levels in patients. That would allow a comparison of endocannabinoid levels in fibromyalgia patients versus healthy control subjects. That possibility may not be far away.

Source: midwestcompassion.org


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28 Responses

  1. Dianne says:

    Was on Cymbalta for 6 years. Cant remember the dose. Was the stronger if the two. Doctors disagree but blame this drug for alot of my problems now. Constant numbness and tingling in both feet and leggs and arms and hands. Nausea all the time. Hard to walk or stand . Only can for a short time , Memory loss and cannot concentrate. Others symtoms to.

    • Jimmy says:

      have your tried Hemp Oil for it?

    • Karen Hale says:

      Why were you on Cymbalta? Check out Zilis Ultra Cell Full Spectrum Hemp Oil. 94% absorbability. I’ve heard several awesome testimonials on it.

      • Marina says:

        Ultra Cell is a MLM (pyramid company) and not recommended at all. There are much better CBD oil brands. And Hemp Oil is for cooking. CBD Oil is medicinal.

        • Dear Marina, I feel compelled to respond to your comment, and hope you will take take note:
          a) Pyramid selling is illegal – therefore an mlm that is going about is business is not a pyramid scheme (the distinction is important) and b) it is possible for an MLM to promote superb products – true, many don’t, but there ARE many exceptions… The quality issue is the same with companies who sell their products via stores or online . The point is – any company and their product should be judged on their ethics and quality, not their route to market.

          Many families (from all walks of like) from around the world absolutely rely on a second income in order to survive, which is why many like the flexibility of distributing product via an mlm programme.

          I would request that you do judge all books by their cover, and do not tar all companies with the same broad brush, as folks may miss out on some exceptional products being offered in the mlm arena by small, ethical, big-hearted companies.

          Many thanks for taking time to read this.

        • Jodie says:

          Hemp oil is not only got cooking. There are a lot of health benefits I taking pure hemp oil.

        • Kendra Esmonde-Stetler says:

          I disagree vehemently. UltraCell is quite effective. I know. I’m alive because of this oil.
          You may want to research the medical board for Zilis/UltraCell which has a IU Professor, pain management doctors, RN, NeuroSurgical Vet all on this prestigious board. And I would love to share with you or anyone else that would like clarification or more information in this product. You are welcome to reach me by email:
          [email protected]
          I’d be happy to supply the vast information such as the C & A, the Mayo Clinic’s bio-availability testing as well as absorption rate and fact sheet. It’s true, not all CBD Oils are created equal so please do your research before discriminating any product.

    • Jen says:

      Check your vitamin b-12 levels. Have them che k not just serum b12 but Methalnalonic Acid (MMA) I had the same problem with tingling feet, went away after about. Year of b12 shots

    • Sue says:

      Omg! Same thing I’m dealing with! Now I wonder. I was on cymbalta too! Shit!
      Got my medical marijuana card now but don’t get the pain relief. But I do have my brain and clarity back.

  2. Karen williams says:

    To whom it may concern my name is karen williams im trying to find out where and if i can get the patches i also have angry nerves as my Dr put it ,yours sincerely karen williams

  3. Karen Hale says:

    You need to try Zilis Ultra Cell Full Spectrum Hemp Oil. I’ve heard several awesome testimonials on this. People go off their prescription drugs & feel like a new person.

    • Jan says:

      Karen, have you tried it yourself? What do you know about it? Thanks

      • Sharon says:

        Jan – I have used CBD oil for about 5 months. It has relieved pain in my right shoulder and my lower back, and has helped with nerve pain in my left foot after surgery. I also use the Ultimate Pain reliever (the stronger one) when I need extra help with the nerve pain. Since using the oil, I have decreased my anti depressant by 1/2 (about a month into my taking CBD). I sleep better a and I generally feel better. To learn more, visit cbdoils.solutions.

  4. Robin M Wilson says:

    CBD saved my life!!!! I was on Gabapentin for 9 years and now have tardive dyskinesia, extreme plantar fasciitis – before I started using CBD I couldn’t walk – It’s now the complete opposite. I walk up to 5 miles a day ; p With the help of CBD I am living and loving life!!!!

  5. Nadine Spiker says:

    I’ve been on pharmaceuticals and stopped taking everything! I’m now on cannibis treatment and feeling better every day! It is still new and I’m learning WITH my Dr as to what works best. As my pain decreases my mood increases. This works for me.

  6. Kathy says:

    I use CBD oil, 50 mg a day. It has helped the neuropathy in my hands and feet. I think it may help with the pain from fibro.

  7. Tricia Dickson says:

    I’ve been taking CBD for almost two years now and have stopped prescribed medication. CBD has drastically reduced my pain levels, although it doesn’t help with fibro-flares (or maybe it does but I don’t know that I could be feeling worse). I now make my own using Hemp tea and coconut oil.

  8. Alan says:

    Such a debilitating ailment and the word needs to be spread more on how CBD oil can make such a massive difference with so many life changing testimonials it has to be worth a try for anyone who is suffering.

  9. Deberah G. Reece says:

    I suffer with Fibromyalgia, and have suffer with for more than 20 years, I am 66 years old and would love to be on your controlled trail team. I feel that I know what has caused my problem, but cannot control the pain!

  10. Jorge says:

    Although there are fibromyalgia patients with psychosomatic disorders few are tested formally with neuropsychological test to validate the diagnosis. Conversely are there any psychosomatic cases pre-validated by testing that are cured by cannabinoids? Meaning when tested again normalize? Or are psychosomatic and personality disorders separate from endocannabiboid deficiencies?

  11. Have you tried CBD Oil?

  12. Bev says:

    I just want to emphasize that while cannabinoids are worth a try – over a good time period to assess the effectiveness for you – not everyone responds positively to them, or not in the same way.

  13. Yvonne says:

    I have have suffered for 30 years, and would love to try CANNABIS OIL

  14. Pam says:

    Are all CBD oils alike? Ive been told that “concentrates” you can get in states where MM is legal are much more potent that’s what’s available online? Does anyone know if MM is sold by dealers in states where it’s not yet legal? I live in one of the states where it’s not legal and have intractable chronic pain and have tried everything and pharmaceuticals all make the pain worse.

    • Sharon says:

      All CBD oils are not created equal! Make sure you take pure CBD oil. For more details, go to cbdoils.solutions. Don’t pay for fillers, such as grapeseed oil or coconut oil. Do your due diligence. Remember, CBD oil will not get you high!

  15. I found out that I had a herniated disc and 3 bad places in my spine. Also lower lumbar spinal stenosis. My chiropractor has been slowly working on my back three times a week for most of this year. The appointments only last approximately 15-20 minutes.

    My back is straight now and aligned. My legs are much better! I use a cane to walk long distances and sit and rest often but I can do it. I found out that I can accomplish many more activities when I go it alone at my own pace then have a meet up time and join the group.

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