Cannabinoid use among Americans with MS: Current trends and gaps in knowledge

Tiffany J. Braley* (Corresponding Author), Daniel Whibley, Kevin N Alschuler, Dawn Ehde, Ronald D Chervin, Daniel J. Clauw, David Williams, Anna L. Kratz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Up-to-date information regarding the scope and impact of cannabinoid use among persons with MS (PwMS) is necessary to guide clinical practice and cannabinoid research.

Objectives: To assess utilization patterns and perceived impact of cannabinoid use among a national cohort of PwMS.

Methods: Data collected were part of a nationwide survey to characterize pain in PwMS. Items included questions about current/recent cannabinoid use, reasons for use, preferred THC/CBD formulations, and perceived benefits/side effects. PROMIS short-forms assessed symptom severity. Pain phenotype was assessed with the painDETECT questionnaire and FMSurvey Criteria Questionnaires.

Results: Among n = 1,027 respondents, 42% endorsed recent cannabinoid use, of which 18% endorsed healthcare provider guidance regarding use. PROMIS scores (except cognitive abilities), and pain centralization and neuropathic pain scores, were higher among recent/current users (each p < 0.0001). Sleep and pain were the most frequently reported reasons for use. Benefit from cannabinoids for sleep and pain were strongly correlated (r = 0.65, p < 0.0001). For those who expressed a preference for specific THC/CBD ratios, CBD-predominant formulations were favored.

Conclusion: Cannabinoid use is common in PwMS, despite a paucity of provider guidance. The range of perceived benefits, and potential differential effects of THC and CBD, highlight the need for personalized, evidence-based guidelines regarding cannabinoid use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalMultiple sclerosis journal
Issue number3
Early online date22 Sep 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Multiple sclerosis
  • cannabinoids
  • cannabis
  • pain
  • insomnia
  • sleep disturbance


Dive into the research topics of 'Cannabinoid use among Americans with MS: Current trends and gaps in knowledge'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this