International forskning

Symptom severity is a major determinant of cannabis-based products use among people with multiple sclerosis

Tangui Barré 1, Damien Testa 2, Melina Santos 1, Fabienne Marcellin 1, Perrine Roux 1, Patrizia Carrieri 1, Lise Radoszycki 2, Camelia Protopopescu 1

  • 1Aix Marseille Univ, Inserm, IRD, SESSTIM, Sciences Economiques & Sociales de la Santé & Traitement de l’Information Médicale, ISSPAM, Marseille, France.
  • 2Carenity, Paris, France.


Aims and objectives: We aimed to identify correlates of cannabinoid-based products (CBP) use in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) in France and Spain.

Background: MS is responsible for a wide range of symptoms, including pain. Access to CBP differs according to local legislation. The French context is more restrictive than the Spanish one, and no data regarding cannabis use among MS patients has yet been published. Characterizing MS patients who use CBP constitutes a first step toward identifying persons most likely to benefit from them.

Design: An online cross-sectional survey was submitted to MS patients who were members of a social network for people living with chronic diseases and were living in France or Spain.

Methods: Two study outcomes measured therapeutic CBP use and daily therapeutic CBP use. Seemingly unrelated bivariate probit regression models were used to test for associations between the outcomes and patients’ characteristics while accounting for country-related differences. STROBE guidelines were followed in reporting this study.

Results: Among 641 study participants (70% from France), the prevalence of CBP use was similar in both countries (23.3% in France vs. 20.1% in Spain). MS-related disability was associated with both outcomes, with a gradient observed between different degrees of disability. MS-related pain level was associated with CBP use only.

Conclusions: CBP use is common in MS patients from both countries. The more severe the MS, the more participants turned to CBP to alleviate their symptoms. Easier access to CBP should be ensured for MS patients in need of relief, especially from pain.

Relevance to clinical practice: This study highlights the characteristics of MS patients using CBP. Such practices should be discussed by healthcare professional with MS patients.