Epidemiology Poster Presentation

P0439 - Cannabis Use Among People with MS: A 2020 NARCOMS Survey (ID 1483)

  • A. Salter
  • A. Salter
  • R. Ann Marie
  • G. Cutter
  • J. Steinerman
  • K. Smith
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The North American Research Committee on Multiple Sclerosis (NARCOMS) registry is a voluntary self-report registry for persons with MS. Interest has been growing over time regarding the benefits of cannabis for management of various symptoms in MS, particularly as cannabis becomes more accessible.


To evaluate the contemporary prevalence of cannabis use among persons with MS, and demographic factors associated with cannabis use for MS symptom management.


Active US NARCOMS participants were invited to complete an online, supplemental survey regarding cannabis use (excluding hemp CBD and products labeled as CBD only) for their MS symptoms. Demographic and clinical characteristics captured included age, sex, race, state of residence, age at MS symptom onset, and disability level measured using the Patient Determined Disease Steps (PDDS). Participant-reported symptoms of spasticity, pain, and sleep problems were captured using a numeric rating scale (NRS) with scores ranging from 0 (no problems) to 10 (worst possible problems). For the analysis we categorized NRS scores as 0 (normal), 1-3 (mild), 4–6 (moderate), and 7–10 (severe). We summarized the findings using descriptive statistics.


Of the 6934 participants invited, 3249 (46.9%) responded. Most respondents were female (78.5%), Caucasian (88.5%), and had a mean (SD) age of 61.2 (10.2) years. The respondents had a mean age at symptom onset of 31.2 (10.3) years, and a median (25th, 75th) PDDS level of 3 [Gait Disability] (1 [Mild Disability], 6 [Bilateral Support]). Over 60% of respondents reported moderate to severe spasticity, pain, or sleep problems. Thirty-one percent of respondents (n=1012) indicated they had used cannabis for their MS symptoms at least once; of these respondents, 50.5% had used cannabis to treat spasticity, 43.6% had used cannabis for pain, and 38.4% had used cannabis for sleep. There were 636 (19.6%) respondents who reported current use of cannabis for their MS, while 376 (11.6%) reported past use but not current use. Current users were comparable to past users except current users were more likely to be male (p=0.001) and on average slightly younger (p=0.009).


In this US registry-based sample, 31% of participants reported ever using cannabis for MS symptoms, and 20% reported current use within the prior 30 days.