Marijuana and Spine Surgery — Surgical Results Go Up in Smoke

Those who thought cannabis was going to make analgesia easier need to think again

What’s the Claim?

A case series found that patients who used cannabis before 1- or 2-level posterior spinal fusions took substantially more narcotic analgesics after hospital discharge than did patients who hadn’t used cannabis before surgery (2545 morphine milligram equivalents versus 1380).

A confounding variable that’s worth paying attention to here, but which the authors didn’t discuss, was the high percentage of patients with preoperative cannabis usage who also carried a diagnosis of depression (31% among those who used cannabis versus 14% among those who hadn't used cannabis before).

How’s It Stack Up?