Patient perspectives on cannabinoids for interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome

Anderson K1, Jenkins D2, Lynch M1, Cox A1

Research Type


Abstract Category

Pelvic Pain Syndromes

Abstract 45
ePoster 1
Scientific Open Discussion Session 4
Painful Bladder Syndrome/Interstitial Cystitis (IC) Quality of Life (QoL) Questionnaire
1. Dalhousie University, 2. Queen's University

Katherine H Anderson



Hypothesis / aims of study
Interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS) is a chronic condition often causing a significant impact on quality of life (QoL). The goals of management remain symptom control and maximizing QoL. Cannabinoid receptors have been found in human bladder tissue. Access to cannabis has increased with the rise of legalization in various jurisdictions. 

We sought to: 1) Determine if patients with IC/BPS use cannabis products for symptoms of IC/BPS; 2) Elicit perceptions of patients with IC/BPS regarding use of cannabis products; 3) Determine if higher Pain and Urgency/Frequency Symptom Scale (PUF) scores correlate with use of cannabinoid products.
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.
Concluding message
Use of cannabis products by patients with IC/BPS is common. Respondents who used cannabis products largely perceived them to be beneficial for their symptoms with minimal side effects. Further research should be directed towards determining if there is clinical utility for cannabis as a potential therapy for patients with IC/BPS.
Funding None. Clinical Trial No Subjects Human Ethics Committee Nova Scotia Health Authority Research Ethics Board Helsinki Yes Informed Consent Yes
27/03/2023 19:44:33