Medical Cannabis for the Treatment of Fibromyalgia

George Habib, MD, MPH; Suheil Artul, MD


J Clin Rheumatol. 2018;24(5):255-258. 

In This Article

Patients and Methods

This was a retrospective review of patients with fibromyalgia who were treated with MC. Data were obtained on patients with fibromyalgia from the registries of Laniado Hospital, Netanya, and Nazareth Hospital, Nazareth, Israel. All the patients met the diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia.[19] The patients were contacted and asked to participate in the study.

The inclusion criteria were patients older than 18 years and being able to sign a consent form. The exclusion criteria were patients with malignancy-associated or other rheumatic disease–associated fibromyalgia.

All the patients signed a consent form, and the study was approved by the local ethics committee of Laniado Hospital.

After obtaining consent, demographic, clinical, and laboratory parameters were documented. Demographic data included age and sex. Clinical data included the duration of symptoms of fibromyalgia, time of disease diagnosis, medical treatment before and after MC treatment, dose of MC, mode of consumption, adverse effects of MC, employment status, impact of MC treatment on return to work (part-time or full-time work), and number of hours of work. Laboratory parameters included serological markers and vitamin B12 status.

In addition, all the patients completed the Revised Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQR) on the period before and after MC treatment.[20] The patients were asked to document any medical treatment they had received for fibromyalgia in the 2 months prior to starting MC treatment and during the 2 months while receiving MC treatment. Simple analgesics were considered paracetamol, dipyrone, or orphenadrine citrate combined with paracetamol. Mild opiates were considered tablets containing equal to or less than 30 mg of codeine or equal to or less than 100 mg tramadol per day. Strong opiates were considered any treatment containing oxycodone, patches containing fentanyl or buprenorphine, and tablets containing more than 200 mg tramadol per day. The participants were also asked about adverse effects associated with the use of MC. In the questionnaire, all the participants were asked to describe their experience of MC treatment in their own words.

For statistical analysis, Wilcoxon signed rank test was conducted to compare the results of questionnaire data before MC treatment with those after MC treatment. A χ 2 test was performed to compare the number of patients receiving different types of medications prior to MC treatment with the number of patients receiving the same types of medications while receiving MC treatment.