International forskning

Hand Surgery Patient Perspectives on Medical Cannabis: A Survey of Over 600 Patients

Lilah Fones 1, Clay Townsend 1, Harry Hoyen 2, Frederic Liss 1, Mark L Wang 1, Ari C Greis 1 3, Asif M Ilyas 1 3

  • 1Rothman Orthopaedic Institute at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA.
  • 2Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Philadelphia, PA.
  • 3Rothman Orthopaedic Institute Foundation for Opioid Research & Education, Philadelphia, PA.


Purpose: Medical cannabis (MC) has been proposed as a potential addition to multimodal pain management regimens in orthopedics. This study evaluates hand and upper-extremity patient perspectives of MC as a treatment for common orthopedic and musculoskeletal pain conditions. This study also aims to identify the proportion of patients already using MC, perceived barriers to MC use, and opinions on insurance coverage and legality of cannabis.

Methods: An anonymous cross-sectional survey study was conducted of all patients at least 18 years old presenting from October 2020 to January 2021 to a hand and upper-extremity outpatient clinic. The survey collected information regarding opinion on MC, including use, legality, and willingness to use MC in the future. Medical cannabis was legal in the states where the study was conducted.

Results: A total of 679 patients completed the survey (response rate 72.5%). Sixty-eight patients (10.0%) reported currently using MC. Of the 623 patients (90.0%) who reported not currently using MC, 504 (80.9%) would consider using MC for chronic pain, while the remaining 119 (19.1%) would not consider the use of MC for chronic pain. Age was not associated with whether a patient would consider using MC (P = .16) or was already using MC (P = .10). The most identified barrier to MC use was cost, reported as either expensive or not affordable by 477 patients (70.5%).

Conclusions: This study found that most patients presenting for hand and upper-extremity complaints would consider using MC (80.9%), and most perceive it as a safe treatment option for common orthopedic conditions. Moreover, 10% of patients reported already using MC. One of the major barriers to MC use is the cost. Most (90.9%) patients support policies for legalization and insurance coverage of MC.

Keywords: Hand Surgery; Medical Cannabis; Opioids; Orthopedic surgery; Pain management.