With medical use of cannabis now legal in 39 states and the District of Columbia, there is a marked increase of interest in marijuana use and its derivatives such as cannabinoids (CBD) and THC (smoked) in the medical setting. This upswing of interest comes from both patients and the medical community. As medically-approved cannabis is being proscribed in a growing range of medical specialties, Dr. Dominic Carreira undertook a research project to explore the use of cannabinoids in the orthopedic setting.
Academic Review of Published Research on Cannabinoids in the Orthopedic Setting
With this evolving trend in mind, Dr. Dominic Carreira, a leading arthroscopic surgeon focused on the hip, foot, and ankle, undertook a literature review with three colleagues to discern the role of CBD in the orthopedic setting. A review of medical literature involves a comprehensive survey of articles published in medical jourals, identifying and cataloging relevant articles focused on the topic of interest. Dr. Carreira and his team then collated the findings to draw conclusions or understandings about the findings covered in those published articles.
In the course of their three months of research, Dr. Carreira and his research team discovered the following key points concerning cannabinoids and their use in orthopedics:
- Smoking marijuana is not associated with better pain control and is associated with higher pain medication needs including narcotics.
- Preoperative unregulated use of CBD has been linked with opioid dependence after surgery.
- There is limited evidence for therapeutic benefit of CBD in rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia.
- CBD may be useful as an analgesic for some orthopedic pathologies but has not been shown to be helpful in osteoarthritis.
A major additional point that Dr. Carreira and his fellow researchers include in their article published the journal Orthopedics in March 2022, is that more research is necessary to properly understand the role and benefits of cannabinoids in orthopedics. There are many unanswered questions about the efficacy of cannabinoids, their side effects, and other issues relating to their use.
Board-certified and fellowship trained, Dr. Carreira has long incorporated research into this medical profession. He maintains and on-going and active medical research in his specialty of the arthroscopic treatment of the hip, foot, and ankle.