Study design, materials and methods
We conducted a cross-sectional survey study of IC/BPS patients at our centre over a 6-month period. Patients were asked to complete two anonymous surveys: a demographics and perceptions of cannabis survey modified from a previous study, and the PUF Symptom Scale. Descriptive statistics were used to characterize the survey responses.
Ninety-seven patients participated in the study and 78 completed both surveys (80%). Ninety-five percent of respondents were female, mean age 49 ± 16.5 years. Median patient-reported duration of IC/BPS symptoms was 9 years. Reported cannabis use was 58% (56/97) and 82% (37/45) found it to be at least slightly effective for symptom management. The majority (60%) of participants reported taking medications for IC/BPS. Seventeen percent reported that cannabis use resulted in a decrease or discontinuation of their other IC/BPS medications. The majority of patients reported no negative side effects from cannabis use (60%). Moderate-severe side effects were reported by 12.5% of patients. The three most common modalities used were: smoked (57%), oils (51%), edibles (43%). The mean total PUF score was 20.4 ±7.4. There was no correlation found between cannabis use and total PUF score (r = 0.041, n=78, p=0.724). We found no statistically significant difference in severity of PUF total score for patients who had used cannabis within the last 6 months and those who had not (20.7 +/- 7.5 vs. 20.1 +/- 7.3, t(76) = -0.355, p=0.72).
Interpretation of results
The survey respondents were mainly middle-aged women with a range of IC/BPS symptom severity as quantified by their PUF scores. Over half of the respondents reported using cannabis products for their IC/BPS and most had negligible negative side effects. Patients use a variety of common preparation of cannabis. There was no correlation found between severity of IC/BPS (PUF score) and likelihood of using cannabis.