Int J Spine Surg. 2021 Jul 20:8087. doi: 10.14444/8087. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabis derivative that has been popularized as a medicinal product with analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. Given the anecdotal observations that several patients have reported use of CBD for spine-related pain, this study was designed to characterize CBD consumption patterns and perceived effects in patients with spine-related complaints.
METHODS: The study design was a cross-sectional survey. Over a 4-week period, an anonymous paper survey was administered to all patients presenting for evaluation by 1 of 9 spine surgeons at a single institution. Surveys were given upon registration for the office visit and collected by the office manager or nurse before evaluation by the surgeon. Patients were included regardless of surgical status (ie, preoperative, postoperative, or nonoperative) or region of pathology (lumbar, thoracic, or cervical). The survey consisted of multiple-choice questions on patient patterns of CBD use.
RESULTS: Out of 300 surveys, 214 (71%) were completed. CBD use for spine-related pain was reported by 54 (25.2%) patients. CBD was initially used for potential relief of back pain (66.7%), neck pain (37.0%), leg pain (35.2%), and/or arm pain (9.3%). Users also sought improvements in insomnia (25.9%) and mood (18.5%). Oil was the most popular formulation (64.8%). CBD was most often consumed 2-5 times (40.7%) or 6-10 times (31.5%) per week. The most common source of initial recommendation for CBD was friends or family (75.9%). Reported benefits were pain relief (46.3%), improved sleep (33.3%), and reduced anxiety (20.4%); however, 24.1% of patients reported no benefit from CBD use. The most reported side effect was fatigue (7.4%). Most users (63.0%) would recommend CBD to a friend for pain relief.
CONCLUSION: CBD is already used by many patients, and further high-quality research on this supplement is essential.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: 4.
CLINICAL RELEVANCE: CBD is a commonly used by spine patients as an off label treatment.