Cannabis Use Disorder Trends and Health Care Utilization After Cervical and Lumbar Spine Fusions

Nicholas Dietz, Victoria Alkin, Nitin Agarwal, Mayur Sharma, Brent Garrison Oxford, Dengzhi Wang, Beatrice Ugiliweneza, Jersey Mettille, Maxwell Boakye, Doniel Drazin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Study Design. A retrospective cohort study. Objective. To identify differences in complication rates after cervical and lumbar fusion over the first postoperative year between those with and without cannabis use disorder (CUD) and to assess how CUD affects opioid prescription patterns. Summary of Background Data. Cannabis is legal for medical purposes in 36 states and for recreational use in 18 states. Cannabis has multisystem effects and may contribute to transient vasoconstrictive, prothrombotic, and inflammatory effects. Methods. The IBM MarketScan Database (2009-2019) was used to identify patients who underwent cervical or lumbar fusions, with or without CUD. Exact match hospitalization and postdischarge outcomes were analyzed at index, six, and 12 months. Results. Of 72,024 cervical fusion (2.0% with CUD) and 105,612 lumbar fusion patients (1.5% with CUD), individuals with CUD were more likely to be young males with higher Elixhauser index. The cervical CUD group had increased neurological complications (3% vs. 2%) and sepsis (1% vs. 0%) during the index hospitalization and neurological (7% vs. 5%) and wound complications (5% vs. 3%) at 12 months. The lumbar CUD group had increased wound (8% vs. 5%) and myocardial infarction (MI) (2% vs. 1%) complications at six months and at 12 months. For those with cervical myelopathy, increased risk of pulmonary complications was observed with CUD at index hospitalization and 12-month follow-up. For those with lumbar stenosis, cardiac complications and MI were associated with CUD at index hospitalization and 12 months. CUD was associated with opiate use disorder, decreasing postoperatively. Conclusions. No differences in reoperation rates were observed for CUD groups undergoing cervical or lumbar fusion. CUD was associated with an increased risk of stroke for the cervical fusion cohort and cardiac (including MI) and pulmonary complications for lumbar fusion at index hospitalization and six and 12 months postoperatively. Opiate use disorder and decreased opiate dependence after surgery also correlated with CUD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E28-E45
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2024
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.


  • cannabis
  • cervical fusion
  • complications
  • health care utilization
  • lumbar fusion
  • spine surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Cannabis Use Disorder Trends and Health Care Utilization After Cervical and Lumbar Spine Fusions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this