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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

Objective: 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.

Design: Prospective survey

Setting: Two academic level 1 trauma centers

Patients/Participants: 500 patients in an orthopedic outpatient clinic

Intervention: Survey

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?

Results: 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.

Conclusions: 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

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