Research shows promise for patients using cannabis after spinal fusion surgery

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Consuming marijuana as part of the recovery from surgery can offer an array of benefits

Spinal fusion is surgery to permanently connect two or more vertebrae in the spine, which eliminates motion between them. Spinal fusion involves techniques designed to mimic the normal healing process of fractured bones. While it is a surgery intended to improve the quality of life for some people, its complications can be severe. Fortunately, a recent study has shown that anyone undergoing spinal fusion surgery is less likely to face complications if they are a cannabis user.

A team of orthopedic specialists set out to find more answers on the subject. After conducting several analyses, they found that patients who lead a cannabis lifestyle are less likely to experience adverse medical outcomes after undergoing a thoracolumbar spinal fusion procedure.

“The Impact of Isolated Baseline Cannabis Use on Outcomes Following Thoracolumbar Spinal Fusion: A Propensity Score-Matched Analysis” was the name given to the study, which was recently published in The Iowa Orthopaedic Journal. Through it, the experts analyzed the relationship between cannabis use and surgical outcomes with a cohort of more than 700 patients, all of whom underwent this surgery.

According to specialists, adult spinal deformity (ASD) is considered a spectrum of disorders that present in late adolescence or adulthood. This can induce iatrogenic spinal deformity, adult spinal scoliosis, and primary degenerative sagittal imbalance.

Half of the cohort identified themselves as cannabis users. Marijuana users experienced significantly lower rates of medical complications during the 90-day period immediately following surgery. It could be concluded that those with a history of cannabis use were no more likely than non-users to seek postoperative readmissions.