Fibromyalgia Patients Report Subjective Benefits From Cannabis

ISRAEL: Patients suffering from fibromyalgia frequently use cannabis to treat chronic pain and other symptoms of the disease, according to data published in the journal Pain Research and Treatment. Israeli researchers surveyed over 2,700 fibromyalgia patients. Of those who responded to the questionnaire, 84 percent reported consuming cannabis.

“Pain relief was reported by 94 percent of cannabis consumers, while 93 percent reported improved sleep quality, 87 percent reported improvement in depression, and 62 percent reported improvement in anxiety,” authors concluded. In addition, “nearly 85 percent of the patients either completely stopped taking any other pain medications or reduced the dosage of other meds. This reflects the advantage of cannabis over other meds in alleviating pain in addition to its favorable effects on sleep and mood.”


For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “The consumption of cannabis by fibromyalgia patients in Israel,” appears in Pain Research and Treatment.

Patients Dramatically Reduce Their Opioid Use Following Cannabis Access

CANADA: Pain patients enrolled in Canada’s legal medical cannabis access program significantly reduce their use of opioids over the long-term, according to longitudinal data provided by Tilray Canada Ltd – one of the nation’s largest, licensed provider of medicinal marijuana products.

Investigators assessed opioid use patterns in a cohort of 573 patients using Tilray-provided products. Among those patients who acknowledged using opioids upon enrollment in the trial, 51 percent reported ceasing their opiate use within six-months.

“The high rate of cannabis use for the treatment of chronic pain – and subsequent substitution for opioids – suggests that cannabis may play a harm-reduction role in the ongoing opioid dependence and overdose crisis,” said Philippe Lucas, lead investigator of the Tilray Observational Patient Study. “While the cannabis substitution effect for prescription drugs has been identified and assessed via cross-sectional and population-level research, this study provides a granular individual-level perspective of cannabis substitution for prescription drugs and associated improvement in quality of life over time.”

The study’s findings are similar to those reported among enrollees in medical cannabis programs in the United States, such as the experiences of patients in IllinoisMichiganMinnesotaNew Mexico, New York, and elsewhere.


For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. NORML’s fact-sheet highlighting the relevant, peer-reviewed research specific to the relationship between cannabis and opioids is available online.