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cannabinoids, cannabis, craniotomy, marijuana, nursing, pain control, pain perception, postoperative, surgery



  1. Dupriest, Kaitlyn
  2. Rogers, Kamryn
  3. Thakur, Barsha
  4. Venkatachalam, Aardhra M.
  5. Stutzman, Sonja E.


ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Cannabis use for medical and recreational purposes is growing. Cannabis may have drug-drug interactions for managing pain, anxiety, and seizures. The research regarding cannabis use in patients with craniotomy surgeries is sparse and often conducted in states where cannabis use is legal. This study compared 24-hour postoperative craniotomy pain levels in patients who reported cannabis use in a state where cannabis is not yet legal. METHODS: This is an observational prospective, nonrandomized, pilot study of postoperative craniotomy patients. Patients were consented and given a one-time self-report questionnaire regarding postoperative pain, pain management method, type of pain medication used at home (including cannabis), route of administration, and frequency of use. Subjects scored pain on both the numeric rating scale and the visual analog scale. Demographic data were collected from the electronic medical record. RESULTS: Forty-five patients with a mean age of 57 years, 62% female, participated in this study. There were 33% who reported previous cannabis use. One-way analysis of variance showed a significant difference in the mean postoperative pain scores for the cannabis users (4.58) and nonusers (3.89; P = .0056). There was no significant difference between age (P = .1894) and adequacy of pain control (P = .6584) between users and nonusers. CONCLUSION: In this pilot study, a one-time survey in critical care on the sensitive topic of cannabis use is feasible and seems to generate honest responses. One-third of patients reported home use of cannabis in a state where cannabis is illegal.