Objective: To report on the habits of cannabis consumption among fibromyalgia patients in Israel.
Patients and methods: An Internet-based questionnaire was posted to three large fibromyalgia Facebook groups in our country. The questionnaire was anonymous and included demographic, clinical, and cannabis-related questions, including acquisition of a license for medical cannabis (MC) method and amount of cannabis consumption; need to buy cannabis beyond the medical allowance; effect of cannabis on pain, sleep, depression, and anxiety; adverse effects of cannabis; feelings of dependence on cannabis or other meds; the involvement of family members; tendency to drive after using cannabis; and employment and social disability status.
Results: Of 2,705 people, 383 (14%) responded to the questionnaire, with a mean age of 42.2±14.2 years. Of the responders, 84% reported consuming cannabis, and 44% were licensed for MC. The mean amount per month of cannabis consumed was 31.4±16.3g, and 80% of cannabis consumers (CC) smoked pure cannabis or cannabis mixed with tobacco. Pain relief was reported by 94% of CC, while 93% reported improved sleep quality, 87% reported improvement in depression, and 62% reported improvement in anxiety. Of MC-licensed CC, 55% bought cannabis beyond the medical allowance on the black market. Adverse effects were reported by 12% of CC. Only 8% reported dependence on cannabis. Most CC (64%) worked either full- or part-time jobs, and 74% reported driving "as usual" under cannabis use.
Conclusions: Cannabis consumption among fibromyalgia patients in our country is very common and is mostly not licensed. Nearly all CC reported favorable effects on pain and sleep, and few reported adverse effects or feeling of dependence on cannabis.