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Cannabidiol as a substitute for painkillers and opioids in fibromyalgia

The following article examines the efficacy of cannabinoids for treating patients with fibromyalgia.

Strong painkillers and opiates are often used as therapy for pain disorders such as fibromyalgia, although these are often accompanied by side effects and provide only moderate relief of symptoms. The goal of an online survey conducted by the research team led by Kevin Boehnke of the University of Michigan and the Fibromyalgia Association of California was to investigate the extent to which substituting cannabidiol (CBD) for pain medications is effective for fibromyalgia. CBD is the non-psychoactive ingredient of the cannabis plant, which has no intoxicating effects and has many beneficial medicinal properties.

Study procedure

In the study presented here, 878 patients with fibromyalgia participated. The prerequisite for participation was that the patients used CBD products. In order to investigate the differences in efficacy between different CBD products, the patients were divided into the following four groups, depending on which cannabidiol product they preferred to use:

  • Isolate: The product contains only CBD
  • Hemp: The product hasa THC content of more than 0.3%
  • CBD Cannabis: The product has a THC conten of less than 0.3%
  • No preference: No preferred CBD product

Results of the study on cannabidiol in fibromyalgia

In the survey, 72% of the patients stated that they replace their pain medication with CBD products. The majority of these patients stated that the additional treatment with CBD reduced or even stopped the intake of conventional pain medication. The individual symptoms as well as the general state of health in the group that substituted their pain medication with CBD products showed a significantly stronger improvement compared to the group that did not use CBD. The group that preferred to use CBD cannabis products showed the greatest improvement.


In this study, it was shown that patients who substituted opioids and other painkillers with CBD products experienced the greatest improvement in symptoms and fewer side effects. The group using CBD products with less than 0.3% THC showed the greatest improvement.

CBD products are effective for patients with fibromyalgia and can improve both pain symptoms and the general condition of patients. In addition, the use of other pain medications can be reduced.



Boehnke, K. F., Gagnier, J. J., Matallana, L., & Williams, D. A. (2021). Substituting Cannabidiol for Opioids and Pain Medications Among Individuals With Fibromyalgia: A Large Online Survey. The Journal of Pain. 22(11), 1418-1428.

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