Prevalence of Cannabinoid Use in Patients With Hip and Knee Osteoarthritis

J Am Acad Orthop Surg Glob Res Rev. 2021 Feb 2;5(2):e20.00172. doi: 10.5435/JAAOSGlobal-D-20-00172.


Introduction: State legalization and widespread marketing efforts have increased the accessibility and consumption of off-label, non-FDA-approved, cannabinoid (CBD) products. Although clinical evidence is largely absent for the treatment of musculoskeletal pain, patients are experimenting with these products in efforts to relieve joint pain. Assessment of the prevalence, perceived efficacy compared with other nonsurgical modalities, and usage patterns is warranted. The purpose of this study was to report the prevalence and perceived self-efficacy of CBD products in patients with symptomatic hip and/or knee osteoarthritis (OA).

Methods: Two-hundred consecutive patients presenting with painful hip or knee OA were surveyed at their initial evaluation at a large academic center. Using Single Assessment Numeric Evaluation (SANE) scores, survey questions assessed perceived pain and effectiveness of CBD products, in addition to other nonsurgical treatment modalities. Chart review provided demographic factors. Descriptive statistics were used to characterize the data.

Results: Of the 200 patients (80 hip OA, 108 knee OA, and 12 both), 66% were female, and average age was 67 years (range 36 to 89 years). Twenty-four percent (48/200) of patients endorsed use of CBD products before their presentation. The average presenting SANE score (range 0 to 100) for non-CBD users was 50.8 compared with 41.3 among CBD users (P = 0.012). Sixty percent of patients learned about CBD through friends, and 67% purchased CBD directly from a dispensary. Oral tinctures (43%) and topical applications (36%) were the most commonly used forms. In addition, 8% of participants in this study had tried marijuana for their pain.

Conclusion: A 24% incidence of CBD usage was found among patients presenting with hip or knee OA. No significant perceived benefit of CBD use seems to exist compared with its nonuse, as patients who used CBD reported significantly worse SANE and visual analogue scale scores than nonusers at baseline. Follow-up studies are warranted to assess these findings.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arthralgia / epidemiology
  • Cannabinoids*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis, Hip* / drug therapy
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee* / drug therapy
  • Prevalence


  • Cannabinoids