A new study carried out by orthopedic specialists has looked into the relationship between the use of marijuana and surgical outcomes. The specialists, who are associated with SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University, found that patients with a history of marijuana use were less likely to experience unfavorable medical outcomes after a spinal fusion surgery, in comparison to nonusers.
The study’s findings were published in the “Iowa Orthopedia” Journal.
For their research, the specialists recruited about 700 patients aged 18 and older, all of whom had undergone lower back spinal fusion surgery for adult spinal deformity. Adult spinal deformity includes disorders such as primary degenerative sagittal imbalance, iatrogenic spinal deformity and adult spinal scoliosis and usually presents in late adolescence or adulthood.
One-half of the study sample participants revealed that they were marijuana consumers while the other one-half admitted to not consuming cannabis. The study’s objective was to compare 90-day readmission, 90-day complication and two-year revision rates between nonusers and users of marijuana.
The researchers found that marijuana consumers experienced considerably lower rates of medical complications during the 90-day period following surgery, recording 2% for users of cannabis and about 4% for nonusers. They also found that overall, complication rates were higher among nonusers in comparison to users of marijuana, at 4.8% and 2.4% respectively. This is in addition to finding that those with a history of marijuana use weren’t as likely as nonusers to seek post-op readmissions.
In their report, the researchers stated that more research into the effects of marijuana in neuropathic pain management was needed. They explained that with expanding decriminalization and shifting public sentiment, it was vital to identify how baseline marijuana use influenced post-op outcomes of patients with adult spinal deformity who had undergone spinal fusion surgery.
The researchers added that the results, which showed that marijuana was negatively associated with 90-day medical complications, were consistent with some prior studies.
However, the results weren’t consistent with one 2020 study, which demonstrated no significant difference in complications between nonusers and marijuana users who had undergone lumbar spinal fusion. The researchers noted, however, that this particular study was performed with patients from one surgeon.
They also noted that as life expectancy increased, the prevalence of adult spinal deformity would increase, with more surgical corrections expected to take place in the future. Furthermore, they argued that randomized-controlled studies could help to identify the impact of the isolated use of marijuana on the post-op course of patients who had undergone complex procedures.
This research adds to the growing body of evidence indicating that marijuana and the marijuana products commercialized by companies such as American Cannabis Partners could be more beneficial than we currently know. As more research is conducted, these benefits will be documented one by one.
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