Study: Cannabis Associated With Reduced Use of Prescription Opioids Following Shoulder Surgery

Farmington, CT: Patients who use cannabis immediately following shoulder surgery are less likely to consume prescription opioids as compared to those who do not, according to data published in the journal Orthopedics

Researchers affiliated with the University of Connecticut’s Department of Orthopedic Surgery compared opioid use patterns during the three days immediately following shoulder surgery in a cohort of more than 67,000 patients.

They concluded: “Patients in the cannabis group filled fewer opioid prescriptions and were prescribed fewer total MMEs [morphine milligram equivalents] in the first three days postoperatively. Results of this study indicate that patients who use cannabis products may use fewer opioids after proximal humerus open reduction and internal fixation.”

The study’s findings are consistent with those of other case-control studies reporting reduced opioid use among cannabis consumers following neck fusion surgery, wrist surgery, hip surgery, and knee surgery.

Full text of the study, “Cannabis use is associated with fewer filled opioid prescriptions after treatment of proximal humerus fractures,” appears in Orthopedics. Additional information on the opioid-sparing effects of cannabis is available from the NORML Fact Sheet, “Relationship Between Marijuana and Opioids.”