Online survey



The Journal of Pain,Volume 22, Issue 11,2021, Pages 1418-1428, ISSN 1526-5900

Article name

Substituting Cannabidiol for Opioids and Pain Medications Among Individuals With Fibromyalgia: A Large Online Survey


Kevin F. Boehnke, Joel J. Gagnier, Lynne Matallana, David A. Williams

CBD as an Alternative to Opioids for Fibromyalgia: A Survey

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound found in cannabis that has been gaining attention for its potential therapeutic effects, especially in pain management. This study, conducted by R Abuhasira and colleagues, investigates whether individuals with fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition, are substituting CBD for their traditional pain medications, including opioids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

About the Authors and Their Institution

The study was conducted by a team of researchers led by R Abuhasira. The authors have diverse backgrounds and affiliations, contributing to a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach to the research.

Main Findings

  • The majority of participants (72.0%) reported substituting CBD products for medications, most commonly NSAIDs (59.0%), opioids (53.3%), gabapentanoids (35.0%), and benzodiazepines (23.1%).
  • Most substituting participants reported decreasing or stopping use of these pain medications.
  • The most common reasons for substitution were fewer side effects and better symptom management.
  • Participants using CBD-cannabis reported significantly more substitutions than any other group and larger improvements in health, pain, memory, and sleep than other subgroups.


The study was a secondary analysis from a cross-sectional survey. The survey was designed collaboratively, drawing on commonly asked questions about CBD products in the fibromyalgia community. Participants who identified as having chronic pain were recruited in April and May of 2020 through a National Fibromyalgia Association listserv and through press releases and social media platforms.

Potential Implications

The findings of this study suggest that CBD products could potentially be used as an alternative to traditional pain medications, including opioids, which could have significant implications for the management of chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia.

What are the limitations of this study?

As a survey-based study, the findings are based on self-reported data, which can be subject to bias. Furthermore, the study population was predominantly white and female, which may limit the generalizability of the findings.

Original Study Link


This study provides evidence that people with fibromyalgia are substituting CBD products for conventional pain medications, with many reporting successful substitution. However, more rigorous study designs are needed to further investigate this effect.


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