Fibromyalgia Pot Stats Are Crap

There’s nothing I dislike more than bogus government statistics. Like baseball, all statistics should be examined closely because behind them lies an actual truth. Unlike baseball, government statistics are routinely cooked for better media effect. Therefore it takes true talent to figure out what’s going on behind statistics.

This week Dr. Mary-Ann Fitzcharles of McGill University Health Centre released a fibromyalgia study that’s beyond bogus. It’s so full of schwag and seed I don’t even know where to start. Having fibromyalgia, I was very interested in what this respected university was reporting, but the headline from the Sun News really caught my attention: “Illegal marijuana used by 10 per cent of fibromyalgia patients: Study”

Ten percent of fibromyalgia users admit to buying illegal marijuana to treat their pain and other FM related symptoms, but 13 percent reported using cannabis. Three percent of the group must be Health Canada license holders, but there’s no further details. The Sun News report on Dr. Fitzcharles study goes to great lengths to smear fibromyalgia medical marijuana users but, like Dr. Fitzcharles, fails to recognize their self-medication is below Canada’s national average. When I first ranted about this on The Mernahuana Show I was using a rough estimate of the national average. Now I have a much better number to toss out after doing a simple Google search.

Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey, an annual telephone survey of some 10,000+ Canadians, reveals approximately 17.7% of respondents reported using cannabis for medical reasons. That’s an incredible 420,000 Canadians who self-medicate with cannabis. However, if these people have fibromyalgia, their self-medicating with cannabis drops by four percentage points. A crazy idea if I ever heard one! Where’s the headline screaming fibromyalgia users inhale less cannabis than the national average? Simply comparing Dr. Fitzcharles fibromyalgia statistics to the government of Canada stats show a flawed analysis. How does this happen you ask?

Hello, Dr. Fitzcharles this Canadian Drug and Alcohol Study calling. Sorry to bother you at dinner, but have you used cannabis in the last year? A survey of any illicit substance is going to be skewed when you call or ask people to self report. Imagine you just finished ripping your bong or smoking a joint and the phone rings – some dude introduces himself as calling on behalf of the government of Canada and begins asking if you used any drugs in the last year. I know what I’m going to say, “I’m smoking marijuana right now,” but what are you going to tell some stranger on the phone?

I’m suggesting the same is mostly true for Dr. Fitzcharles study – people are not going to be completely open about their cannabis consumption – even medically and possibly especially medically for fear of doctor represal. Just read the results from Dr. Fitzcharles who makes employment related comments without ever realizing fibromyalgia patients are using less than the national average. Plenty of witnesses in R v. Mernagh reported fear of losing their doctor as a reason they didn’t pursue medical marijuana access more thoroughly.

Instead of an opportunity to reveal more about fibromyalgia and cannabis use, this study goes a long way in becoming nothing more than yellow science.

How’s the headline, “Fibromyalgia Patients Use Less Pot” work for everyone?



  1. Ian on

    I have both cfs and fibromyalgia.

    My personal experience with marijuana for this is that marijuana works very well for my brain fog. It makes me feel motivated and do self improvement behaviors I have been neglecting. I smoke small amounts (0.1-0.05grams in a vaporizer). Anymore than that and well… Lets just say I become unproductive.

    IME though I find marijuana to actually increase the pain in my body (maybe an increased awareness?).

    The best thing for my fibromyalgia and cfs is 100mg tramadol Sr taken once a day. It took away my pain as well as fatigue. It however had withdrawal symptoms when I chose to quit.

  2. Nik on

    “Dr” Stoxen, you are a quack and your spam promoting your book on a site about Cannabis is not welcome. Please keep your Human Spring crap to yourself.

  3. Anonymous on

    “When we meet negativity with negativibly then immedatly all world endss”. Riiiiiiiight we should award their dishonest transgressions and be the happy go lucky potheads that stereotypes expect of us… smart thinking, dude. Just go with the flo bro, that’s how change is best effected.

    Mernagh, damnit dude, ever study statistics?

    Statistics comming from different data sets, which it sounds like is the case, do NOT have directly relatable results like you seem to be doing. You’re comparing apples with oranges.

    “Ten percent of fibromyalgia users admit to buying illegal marijuana to treat their pain and other FM related symptoms, but 13 percent reported using cannabis. Three percent of the group must be Health Canada license holders, but there’s no further details.”

    NO SIR. You were led to make that “assumption” by the lack of detail as to what that 3% consists of along with likely misleading and dishonest choices in sentence arrangment.

    You were led by the nose to that conclusion but they never actually stated it which leaves their hands clean while you take the bait they set for you. In fact by that assumption, health canada might argue that people CAN access the program..

    But in fact 3% could be anything. Found it in the bush? Grew their own illegally??? Robbed others for it? Gifted by a friend or a relative?

    Another way to look at it is obviously that the 3% use it illegally as well, but NOT to treat their pain as it relates to the study.

    Maybe it’s just always been more “recreational” for them, and they prefer to think of it accordingly even after they got sick. Maybe they smoke it to fk, or any of the other reasons people may smoke.

    Maybe they have cancer + aids and don’t really give a damn about their FM and so they don’t smoke it for the least of their ills but rather the greater of them.

    There are countless ways to lie Matt, especially involving data; misrepresenting it, omitting it, unrepresentative samples, misinterpreting the results.. and so on. In a situation such as this, from an institution such as this, and for a purpus such as this, you’ll likely encounter all of them, and certainly more a few, and that’s just in a single sentence.

    Matt, this “respected school” has ZERO credibility. These are the people that are responsible for MK Ultra, which helped author the Kubark manual on torture which the US has used to train all of the friendliest regimes.

    They got busted not much more than a year ago for ghostwritting on behalf of carcinogenic pharmaceutical drugs that were consecutively the subject of class action in BC.

    The entire scientific community got together just recently to scold the hell out of them Matt, for their bogus studies espousing the many benefits of baby-safe asbestos.

    Matt, their board was filled with political /corporate shills for the asbestos industry. Matt they are just not respected, and if they are, it’s ornamental and vestigial, but undeserved and without substance.

    They are such a black mark on civilized society at this point, the building ought to be bulldozed and the name never spoken of again.

    So you are right to question their bogus studies, and you will find in the current corporate global rule, with their capture of higher education institutions, that we can’t trust them at all. They’re firmly the tools of corporate and government agenda now.

    I just don’t think you found the right “mistakes” that best supports your conclusion, which is likely correct all the same.

  4. darkorpse on

    Seeing an article like this on cc disgusts me; instead of using the valid and advantageous information that 10% of fibro patients have found potential benefit from cannabis use, as well as potentially avoided the commonly prescribed narcotics and other neuro-active pharmaceuticals, we harp on mass media for giving the evidence a negatice connotation.

    When we meet negativity with negativity, we have alreadt failed.

  5. Canada17 on

    Thanks for writing this. I read several versions of this study by various bloggers and publications. I was disappointed in the fact that the conclusions drawn were so demeaning to Fibro-mites. Myself included. It said the study was of 457 patients, 155 of which did not pass the Fibro tests but were included anyway because they had a previous diagnosis. It concluded that the people who used marijuana illegally had a higher chance of mental instability and unemployment and were more likely to be “drug-seekers”. But it didn’t specify who that was incomparison to, the other patients in the study or the national average. Anyone who is in chronic pain has a higher chance of any of these issues. The reports imply that it is because of their illicit drug use rather than a debilitating condition that is often misdiagnosed and shunned by a large portion of the medical community.

    I have Fibro, and I am certainly not a drug seeker, I have multiple chemical sensitivty and was told I have a narcotic allergy. I am the one who gets those scary “rare” side effects Big Pharma had to warn you about. I don’t have mental instability and I’m tchnically not considered unemployed because I’m not currently seeking employment, I hold one of the most demanding and under-paid positions – Mom. When I was working, I required more illicit medication than I do now because just the drive to and from work in rush hour traffic was enough to flare my Fibro most days. I don’t use drugs to get high, I use them to get things done, like the dishes and laundry and mopping the floor, etc.

    Most people are not honest about using marijuana for medicinal purposes. I attempted to get an Marijauna Card but my Dr dropped me as a patient because of it. My specialist who I had seen for over a year trying every thing she wanted me to, all of it giving me serious adverse reactions, and she dropped me because she said the only reason I was her patient was to get weed. I even tried Cesamet but it made me permanently foggy and no positive side effects.

    I wish these studies were more transparent or that they remained objective in their findings. The only thing this study was able to accomplish was further discrimination against people with Fibro and those who take marijuana for medicinal benefit. It’s a shame considering what marijuana has to offer us. I don’t know how I would make it through my days without it. I would be bedridden with a failed marriage and no visitation with my kids, I would eventually become severely depressed because of chronic pain that no test can diagnose and my family would cast me aside as a burden. I thank God or nature or whoever you pray to every day for marijuana. It has been a life saver for me.

  6. Dr James Stoxen DC on


    Have you read How I Got My Wiggle Back by Anthony Field?

    This is the new book, featuring entertainer Anthony Field discussing his decades-long search for assistance on misdiagnosed fibromyalgia on three continents.

    Field, the creator and a founding member of the world’s most successful musical groups for young children, The Wiggles, was handicapped by chronic pain, chronic, chronic fatigue, misdiagnosed fibromyalgia and depression during his 20 years on the road.

    You can check it out on at