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Patient perceptions of the use of medical marijuana in the treatment of pain following musculoskeletal trauma. A survey of patients at two trauma centers in Massachusetts.

Heng, Marilyn MD, MPH, FRCSC; McTague, Michael F. MPH; Lucas, Robert C. BA; Harris, Mitchel B. MD; Vrahas, Mark S. MD; Weaver, Michael J. MD
Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma: Post Acceptance: August 18, 2017
doi: 10.1097/BOT.0000000000001002
Original Article: PDF Only


The purpose of this study is to evaluate musculoskeletal trauma patients’ beliefs regarding the usefulness of marijuana as a valid medical treatment for post-injury and post-operative pain and anxiety.


Prospective survey


Two academic level 1 trauma centers


500 patients in an orthopedic outpatient clinic



Main Outcome Measurements:

1. Do patients believe that marijuana can be used as medicine?

2. Do patients believe that marijuana can help treat post-injury pain?

3. Are patients comfortable speaking with their healthcare providers about medical marijuana?


The majority of patients felt that marijuana could be used to treat pain (78%, 390) and anxiety (62%, 309). Most patients (60%, 302) had used marijuana at least once previously, while only 14% reported using marijuana following their injury. Of those that used marijuana during their recovery, 90% (63/70) believed that it reduced symptoms of pain; and 81% (57/70) believed that it reduced the amount of opioid pain medication they used.


The majority of patients in this study believed that medical marijuana is a valid treatment and that it does have a role in reducing post-injury and post-operative pain. Those patients who used marijuana during their recovery felt that it alleviated symptoms of pain and reduced their opioid intake. Our results help inform clinicians regarding the perceptions of trauma patients regarding the usefulness of marijuana in treating pain, and support further study into the utility of medical marijuana in this population.

Level of Evidence:

Prognostic Level II

Corresponding Author: Michael J. Weaver, MD 75 Francis St. Boston, MA 02115 P: 617-525-8088 F: 617-730-2818

Conflicts of Interest and Source of Funding: No relevant conflicts of interest and no sources of funding to report.

Presented as a poster at the Annual Meeting of the Orthopedic Trauma Association, National Harbor, MD, 2016.,,,,,

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