Does cannabis use impact healing after spinal fusion surgery?

This study analyzed the effects of cannabis use on healing after Thoracolumbar Spinal Fusion (TLF) surgery, where screws and rods are implanted to steady the spine. It was published in June 2022 in the Iowa Orthopaedic Journal.

704 patients were included, split into 2 cohorts of 352 patients each. Cohorts had comparable age, sex, race, primary insurance, Charlson/Deyo scores, surgical approach, and levels fused.

Cannabis users were 1:1 propensity score-matched to individuals undergoing the same type of TLF sugery without a baseline diagnosis of cannabis use by age, sex, race, primary insurance, Charlson/Deyo score, number of fused spinal levels, fusion approach, and history of tobacco use.

In short, cannabis users had about one half the complication rates after 90 days than did non-users:

Cannabis users (versus non-users) incurred lower 90-day overall and medical complication rates (2.4% vs. 4.8%, p=0.013; 2.0% vs. 4.1%, p=0.018)

Isolated baseline cannabis use, in the absence of any other diagnosed substance abuse disorders, was not associated with increased odds of 90-day surgical complications or readmissions or two-year revisions, though its use was associated with reduced odds of 90-day medical complications when compared to non-users


The full text article is here at the US National Library of Medicine website.