Medical Cannabis in Hand Surgery: A Review of the Current Evidence

J Hand Surg Am. 2023 Mar;48(3):292-300. doi: 10.1016/j.jhsa.2022.11.008. Epub 2023 Jan 4.


Acute and chronic pain management remains an ongoing challenge for hand surgeons. This has been compounded by the ongoing opioid epidemic in the United States. With the increasing legalization of medical and recreational cannabis throughout the United States and other countries, previous societal stigmas about this substance keep evolving, and recognition of medical cannabis as an opioid-sparing pain management alternative is growing. A review of the current literature demonstrates a strong interest from patients regarding the use of medical cannabis for pain control. Current evidence demonstrates its efficacy and safety for chronic musculoskeletal and neuropathic pain. However, definitive conclusions regarding the efficacy of cannabis for pain control in hand and upper extremity conditions require continued investigation. The purpose of this article is to provide a general review of the mechanism of medical cannabis and a scoping review of the current evidence for its efficacy, safety, and potential applicability in hand and upper extremity conditions.

Keywords: Hand surgery; medical cannabis; medical marijuana; orthopedic surgery; pain management.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Chronic Pain*
  • Hand / surgery
  • Humans
  • Medical Marijuana* / adverse effects
  • Pain Management
  • United States


  • Medical Marijuana
  • Analgesics, Opioid