Study: Patients with a History of Cannabis Use Less Likely to Have Medical Complications Following Spinal Fusion Surgery

New York, NY: Patients with a history of cannabis use are less likely than non-users to experience adverse medical outcomes following thoracolumbar (lower back) spinal fusion (TLF) surgery, according to data published in The Iowa Orthopedic Journal.

A team of orthopedic specialists affiliated with the State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Health Sciences University in Brooklyn assessed the relationship between cannabis use and surgical outcomes in a cohort of 704 patients undergoing TLF surgery for adult spinal deformity (ASD). Half of the subjects in the sample identified as cannabis consumers and half did not.

Compared to non-users, cannabis consumers experienced significantly lower rates of medical complications during the 90-day period immediately after surgery. Those with a history of cannabis use were no more likely than non-users to seek post-operative readmissions.

“Compared to patients with ASD who underwent TLF without baseline cannabis use, patients with isolated baseline cannabis use were found to have no increase in odds of incurring 90-day surgical complications or readmissions or revisions two years postoperatively, though reduced odds of experiencing 90-day medical complications were observed,” authors concluded. “Future prospective, randomized-controlled studies could help further characterize the impact of isolated cannabis use on the postoperative course of surgical patients undergoing complex procedures such as thoracolumbar fusion for adult spinal deformity.”

Prior observational studies have similarly reported that marijuana use is associated with a decreased risk of in-hospital mortality among patients suffering from congestive heart failurecancerCOPDpancreatitisHIVburn-related injuriestraumatic brain injuries, and various other types of severe trauma.

Full text of the study, “The impact of isolated baseline cannabis use on outcomes following thoracolumbar spinal fusion: A propensity score-matched analysis,” appears in The Iowa Orthopedic Journal.

Analysis: Patients with a History of Cannabis Use Less Likely to Have Medical Complications Following Spinal Fusion Surgery