Marijuana Use NOT Associated With Increased Stroke Risk, Finds Study

Marijuana Use NOT Associated With Increased Stroke Risk, Finds Study

According to a new study published in the journal Neurology: Clinical Practice, the recent exposure to marijuana is not associated with an increased risk of hospitalization due to acute ischemic stroke (AIS).

For the study researchers from the University of Mississippi Medical Center examined the relationship between a positive marijuana test upon hospital admission and the likelihood of suffering from AIS.

Researchers found that those who tested positive for marijuana had a decreased risk of suffering from AIS compared with those who tested negative for the plant. After adjusting for confounders such as age and obesity, researchers found no significant differences in AIS risk among marijuana-positive patients.

The study concludes by stating: “This is one of the few studies analyzing the association of recent cannabis use and acute ischemic stroke using admission urine toxicology test independent of polysubstance use. Even though our study has limitations, we did not find an independent association between recent cannabis use and the incidence of acute ischemic stroke. Further studies utilizing urine toxicology tests with larger sample size and including dosage of cannabis exposure should be done.”

The study is titled: Association between recent cannabinoid use and acute ischemic stroke.

The study’s full abstract states:

Background: Studies that have analyzed the association between cannabis use and acute ischemic stroke (AIS) have provided conflicting results. In this study, we aim to determine the association of recent cannabis use detected through urine drug screen (UDS) among patients admitted with AIS.

Methods: A retrospective observational study was performed using the medical records database. All patients aged 18 years and older admitted from January 1, 2015, to December 31, 2017, who underwent urine toxicology testing on admission were included in the analysis. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to analyze independent association between recent cannabis use and AIS.

Results: A total of 9,350 patients were determined to have undergone UDS during admission, and 18% (1,643) of this had a positive urine cannabis test. Unadjusted risk ratio showed a 50% decrease in risk of AIS among cannabis users (risk ratio = 0.505, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.425-0.600). The effect was lost after adjusting for age, race, ethnicity, sickle cell disease, dyslipidemia, hypertension, obesity, diabetes mellitus, cigarette smoking, atrial fibrillation, and other cardiac conditions (odds ratio 1.038, 95% CI 0.773-1.394).

Conclusion: This is one of the few studies analyzing the association of recent cannabis use and AIS using admission urine toxicology test independent of polysubstance use. Although our study has limitations, we did not find an independent association between recent cannabis use and the incidence of AIS. Further studies using urine toxicology tests with larger sample size and including dosage of cannabis exposure should be conducted.

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