Can CBD help the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

The actual name is Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), although more people know it as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). In the United State, this chronic, complex and serious condition affects some 800,000 individuals estimated by a four-year study conducted in 2003. Women are four times more likely to experience the disease than men.  Among the symptoms are fatigue, extreme exhaustion, non-refreshing sleep, headaches and joint or muscle pain.

There is no known cause for CFS with theories about its cause ranging from viral infections to psychological stress, immune systems problems, hormonal imbalances or a combination of factors. Some researchers believe that inflammation may play a role because studies reveal several biomarkers of inflammation as well as a sustained immune response in the blood of ME/CFS patients.

CBD and the ECS

As researchers consider the potential of cannabidiol (CBD) to benefit a wide range of physical and mental health issues, the question comes up regarding the effect of CBD on CFS. To understand how CBD might be of help, one first needs to understand the role of CBD with your Endocannabinoid System (ECS).

The ECS is a vital molecular system that plays a very important role in maintaining homeostasis, which is the body’s efforts to maintain stable functionality and operate optimally regardless of any changes in its environment.  For example, homeostasis comes into play when we want our cells to maintain optimum performance so that our body temperature isn’t too hot or cold. There is increasing evidence that the ECS helps to regulate stress, pain, immune system, inflammation and other functions of the body

The ECS is made up of three components: endocannabinoids; cannabinoid receptors, which act as neurotransmitters (neurotransmitters send and receive messages over small gaps between neurons, which are called synapses) and enzymes.  CBD stimulates the endocannabinoid system to produce more of its own cannabinoids, and it and slows their breakdown.

CBD reduces pain and inflammation

CBD may be affective against CFS because of its pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties

One study reported in the European Journal of Pain looked at effectiveness of a topical CBD gel on animal models to reduce inflammation and pain from arthritis. The CBD was applied to the animals for four consecutive days. The results indicated a significant drop in joint swelling and signs of pain. The data suggests that topical CBD has therapeutic potential for the relief of arthritis pain-related behaviors and inflammation without evident side effects.

Improves night’s sleep

Some research on CBD and sleep indicates that CBD may interact with specific receptors in the ECS, CB-1 and CB-2, to potentially affect the sleep/wake cycle.  Furthermore, by reducing the symptoms of pain and anxiety, CBD may also contribute to a more restful sleep.

Boosts energy

Besides helping to promote quality sleep and alleviate pain and anxiety, which can cause mood changes, research indicates other ways that CBD may be able to help increase energy. One study found that CBD modulates waking via activation of waking-related brain areas such as the hypothalamus and dorsal raphe nucleus (DRD), both of which involved in the generation of alertness. Also, CBD increases dopamine (reward stimulus) levels.  Effects of high dopamine levels include improved ability to focus and learn.

Other research suggests that CBD may increase activity by boosting metabolic processes.  A slow metabolism is often associated with low stamina.  In addition to modulating rewarding properties of food by acting on specific areas in the brain, the ECS recently was shown to control several metabolic functions by acting on peripheral tissues such as adipocytes (cells for storing fat), hepatocytes (cells in the liver that control a range of synthetic and metabolic functions), the gastrointestinal tract, the skeletal muscles and the endocrine pancreas.

Choosing the right CBD

In selecting a CBD product, make sure it is of quality and safety.  Look for a certificate of analysis (COA). It’s a document issued by an accredited laboratory that includes a full composition of a product.

Also, it’s advisable to consult with a medical professional before taking CBD for CFS symptoms.