Close up of a tired woman's face laying on a couch.

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and CBD Oil

Cannabidiol (CBD) is probably one of the most popular substances in the world right now. A recent Forbes article even claimed it is more popular than Kanye West, Taylor Swift, The Beatles, and the NBA! So, naturally, this is something that you may want to know more about.

Most people hear "CBD" and immediately think of marijuana. And while there is a connection, it is not as close as it may seem. 

CBD is a cannabinoid derived from the cannabis and hemp plant. It is non-psychoactive, meaning it does not induce a "high," and is purported to have numerous health benefits.

When people talk about cannabis, more often than not, they allude to the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Unlike CBD, THC is psychoactive, which means it induces a "high" when taken in substantial amounts. 

Currently, CBD exists in many forms apart from the typical oils and tinctures. The market is flooded with CBD products, ranging from creams and lotions to gummies and capsules. Even bar owners have found ways to infuse CBD into drinks and cocktails for their customers! 

Since cannabis research is relatively young, empirical evidence supporting most of CBD's health claims is scarce. Nonetheless, the findings of existing studies show promise. 

So, in this article, we review what existing literature says about this cannabis compound that we seemingly cannot get enough of, particularly its relationship with myalgic encephalomyelitis.


What is myalgic encephalomyelitis?

Myalgic encephalomyelitis, or chronic fatigue syndrome, is a complex, long-term condition often characterized by extreme fatigue lasting more than six months. It has continued to baffle medical experts because it's rarely caused by an underlying medical condition. 

People with this condition are usually unable to carry out their regular activities. Often, ME/CFS confines the affected person to bed due to an overwhelming sense of tiredness that is not alleviated by rest. In fact, any activity, be it mental or physical, tends to worsen it. 

Be that as it may, there is no denying that myalgic encephalomyelitis is a debilitating condition that can significantly affect the quality of life.

Even though anyone can get ME/CFS, women and adults in the 40-60 years range are more susceptible. However, according to an IOM report, 90% of people with ME are undiagnosed.


What causes myalgic encephalomyelitis

The exact cause of this condition remains unknown. This problem is compounded by the fact that there are no laboratory tests specifically designed to diagnose myalgic encephalomyelitis. So, doctors often rely on an in-depth assessment of presented symptoms and medical history.

The best we have to explain ME/CFS are theories that propose psychological stress and viral infections as possible causalities. The overriding view is that chronic fatigue syndrome may be caused by a confluence of factors such as:

  • Hormonal imbalance: people with ME/CFS also sometimes exhibit abnormal levels of hormones produced by the pituitary glands, the hypothalamus, or adrenal glands in their blood. However, the significance of these remains unknown.
  • Immune system problem: People with myalgic encephalomyelitis appear to have impaired immune systems. A team of researchers from Columbia University discovered convincing evidence of immunological impairment in ME/CFS cases and diagnostic biomarkers for the condition, demonstrating possible alterations in a person's immune system could contribute to this condition.
  • Viral infections: In some instances, ME/CFS has been shown to develop following viral infections, leading researchers to suspect that some viruses may cause ME/CFS. The suspected viruses include the human herpes virus and the Epstein-Barr virus.
  • Physical/emotional trauma: ME/CFS symptoms have been noted to follow after a person experiences a traumatic injury or significant emotional stress.

Full recovery from unmanaged ME/CFS is uncommon, with just a 5% rate of recovery. However, some symptoms of this illness can be eased with the proper treatment regimen. Although additional research is needed, there is growing evidence that graded exercise and cognitive behavioral therapies may be useful.


Myalgic encephalomyelitis symptoms

The thing with this condition is that it shares symptoms with other conditions, which probably explains why it is often undiagnosed. 

The dominant symptom associated with ME/CFS is post-exertional malaise or PEM. The updated term for this condition is systemic exertional intolerance syndrome or SIED.

Other observable symptoms are:

  • Impaired function
  • Post-exertional malaise
  • Disordered sleep
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Orthostatic intolerance

Often, people with this condition may not look unwell, probably because the severity of the symptoms varies from person to person.

Also, these symptoms are sometimes similar to those of other illnesses, making myalgic encephalomyelitis a bit tricky to diagnose, especially when a person exhibits:

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Sore throat
  • Irregular heart palpitations
  • Muscle weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Digestive issues, e.g.,  irritable bowel syndrome

So, how do you know when to see a doctor? Normal fatigue typically resolves after a good rest. If fatigue persists or worsens, it may be time to see a medical professional.


CBD oil for fatigue

Recent discoveries about cannabinoids and their health properties have made CBD a highly sought-after compound. Consequently, the drive to have it in as many forms as possible is in full gear. 

CBD oil is one of the most popular forms of CBD on the market. It is basically cannabis extract—in which CBD is the dominant compound—diluted in oil such as MCT oil, coconut oil, hemp seed oil, or almond oil. The oil is the carrier because, in pure form, CBD is a white crystalline powder with a limited range of use.

When dissolved in oil, it becomes more usable—you can take it directly or mix it in your drink or food.

A team of researchers at the University of New Mexico used a mobile software program to analyze the effects of several types of popular and commercially accessible cannabis-based products on fatigue. 

They found that over 91% of patients who took cannabis to treat exhaustion reported symptomatic relief. Further, the researchers noted that people who smoked cannabis or 'joints' exhibited better symptom relief than those who used vapes or pipes. 

In their study published in the journal Medical Cannabis and Cannabinoids, researchers at UNM established that consuming cannabis provided immediate relief from symptoms of fatigue in most users.

This was the first major study that indicated that smoking cannabis flowers, commonly known as "buds," resulted in a marked improvement of feelings of fatigue.


CBD research and ME/CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome)

Currently, researchers are looking at the possibility of using medical cannabis as a potential treatment plan for ME/CFS.

Research strongly suggests that ME/CFS is an inflammatory condition associated with neuroinflammation. Considering the significant anti-inflammatory properties of cannabinoids, particularly CBD, it is likely that it may have a positive impact on this disorder. 

Personal anecdotes from people suffering from ME/CFS are encouraging, but they don't prove anything. However, emerging research evidence shows that CBD may help treat ME/CFS symptoms.

For example, a 2016 study investigating clinical endocannabinoid deficiency found that CBD could effectively treat irritable bowel syndrome and migraine, two conditions related to ME/CFS.

A 2017 study proposed that CBD might be used to suppress glia (a type of brain cell) activity associated with central sensitization. This is a hypersensitive central nervous system condition common in ME/CFS and other central sensitivity diseases, including migraine, irritable bowel syndrome, and fibromyalgia. 

Furthermore, CBD is thought to promote body homeostasis, thereby balancing vital bodily processes like temperature, respiration, and blood flow. People with ME/CFS tend to exhibit homeostatic imbalance. 

Studies also show that CBD may reduce inflammation, dubbing it a unique anti-inflammatory agent. CBD's anti-inflammatory properties are vital for ME/CFS since chronic inflammation and neuroinflammation are often viewed as potential underlying causes.

Another 2017 study investigating the medicinal potential of CBD in treating Alzheimer's disease showed that it lowers mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress while suppressing pro-inflammatory activity. These benefits of CBD may help combat some of the problems occasioned by CFS.

And finally, insomnia is a common ME/CFS symptom. Sleeping problems can exacerbate other symptoms of this illness, leading to depression, agitation, and inability to focus. CBD has been shown to promote better sleep by activating CB2 receptors in the brain. 

There is little doubt that ME/CFS is a crippling condition whose symptoms afflict millions globally. Unfortunately, this condition remains untreatable at the moment. It appears the only way to deal with the unending fatigue, pain, insomnia, and other draining symptoms of this disease is to mitigate their severity.

The treatment methods currently being used to ease this illness and assist people cope are largely effective, even though some may have negative health consequences. In reality, there are limited options for people with ME/CFS, which probably explains the rising use of natural supplements like CBD. 


CBD products to try 

We emphasize that the efficacy of CBD depends on its quality. High-quality CBD products contain sufficient quantities of cannabinoids and other beneficial cannabis compounds such as terpenes, essential oils, flavonoids, and vitamins. They also don't contain harmful ingredients like solvent or pesticide residues.

Here are high-quality CBD products by FOCL fortified with sufficient cannabinoids for your health requirements:

Premium CBD Drops: These are made from CBD, either in broad or full spectrum formulations, and Organic MCT oil. They come in three strength levels—1000, 2000, and 3000mg—and are deliciously flavored, so no grassy aftertaste!

Sleep Drops: Besides CBD, CBN, and MCT oil, this product is enriched with organic herbal extracts such as lavender and peppermint to promote better, deeper sleep and a healthier brain.


Final thoughts

Because it is natural, many people consider CBD a safe and effective option for various diseases, including myalgic encephalomyelitis (chronic fatigue syndrome). Compared to some prescription drugs, CBD does not intoxicate and has few adverse effects. 

Nonetheless, there is still a need for more research to further our understanding of how CBD impacts myalgic encephalomyelitis. 

The truth is that most people will probably not wait for hard evidence before using CBD. However, we strongly recommend proper consultations with medical professionals before using CBD supplements because their effects on people typically vary. 

Not to make you worry, CBD is considered safe, and most people tolerate it quite well. 


For a detailed breakdown on myalgic encephalomyelitis, watch this video: