Online survey



The Journal of Pain, Volume 22, Issue 5, May 2021, Pages 556-566

Article name

Cannabidiol Use for Fibromyalgia: Prevalence of Use and Perceptions of Effectiveness in a Large Online Survey


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

Understanding CBD Use for Fibromyalgia: Insights from a Large Online Survey

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic pain condition affecting 2 to 4% of the population. It is characterized by widespread pain and often accompanied by other symptoms like sleep problems, depression, cognitive dysfunction, and fatigue. Many individuals with FM experiment with alternative interventions to manage their symptoms, including cannabidiol (CBD). This study, conducted by KF Boehnke and colleagues, is a cross-sectional, anonymous survey examining the patterns of CBD use among individuals with FM.

About the Authors and Institution

The study was conducted by a team of researchers led by KF Boehnke. The team has expertise in cannabinoids and chronic pain, and they designed the survey based on commonly asked questions about CBD in the FM community. The study was published in The Journal of Pain, a reputable scientific journal.

Main Findings

  • 38.1% of participants reported never using CBD, 29.4% reported past CBD use, and 32.4% reported current CBD use.
  • Those using CBD typically did so due to inadequate symptom relief, while those not using CBD typically cited safety concerns.
  • Two-thirds of participants disclosed CBD use to their physician, although only 33% asked for physician advice on using CBD.
  • Participants used CBD for numerous FM-related symptoms (most commonly pain), and generally reported slight to much improvement across symptom domains.
  • Around half of participants reported side effects, which were typically minor.


The researchers designed the survey collaboratively, drawing on commonly asked questions about CBD in the FM community. They recruited participants with FM by sending out an anonymized survey link via the Qualtrics survey platform to a listserv with members of the National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA). The NFA also shared the survey link via press releases, Facebook, and other social media platforms. The study population consisted of 2,701 participants with fibromyalgia, primarily in the United States.

Potential Implications

The results suggest that CBD use is common among people with fibromyalgia, and many derive benefit from using CBD across multiple symptoms domains. This highlights the need for clinicians to discuss CBD use with fibromyalgia patients.

Limitations of the Study

The findings of this study are limited by selection bias and the cross-sectional design, which prevents establishing causal associations.


CBD use is common among individuals with FM and many individuals using CBD report improvements across numerous FM-related symptoms. The results highlight the need for additional rigorous studies to better understand CBD's potential for FM management. You can read the full study here.


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