Background: The aim of this study was to describe the patterns of cannabis use and the associated benefits reported by patients with fibromyalgia (FM) who were consumers of this drug. In addition, the quality of life of FM patients who consumed cannabis was compared with FM subjects who were not cannabis users.
Methods: Information on medicinal cannabis use was recorded on a specific questionnaire as well as perceived benefits of cannabis on a range of symptoms using standard 100-mm visual analogue scales (VAS). Cannabis users and non-users completed the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ), the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and the Short Form 36 Health Survey (SF-36).
Results: Twenty-eight FM patients who were cannabis users and 28 non-users were included in the study. Demographics and clinical variables were similar in both groups. Cannabis users referred different duration of drug consumption; the route of administration was smoking (54%), oral (46%) and combined (43%). The amount and frequency of cannabis use were also different among patients. After 2 hours of cannabis use, VAS scores showed a statistically significant (p<0.001) reduction of pain and stiffness, enhancement of relaxation, and an increase in somnolence and feeling of well being. The mental health component summary score of the SF-36 was significantly higher (p<0.05) in cannabis users than in non-users. No significant differences were found in the other SF-36 domains, in the FIQ and the PSQI.
Conclusions: The use of cannabis was associated with beneficial effects on some FM symptoms. Further studies on the usefulness of cannabinoids in FM patients as well as cannabinoid system involvement in the pathophysiology of this condition are warranted.