Authorized medical cannabis patients are at low risk for psychiatric hospitalizations resulting from their marijuana use, according to data published in the journal Substance Use & Misuse.
Canadian researchers assessed marijuana-related hospitalizations among a cohort of over 23,000 authorized medical cannabis patients. (Canada has legalized the use of cannabis products for both medical purposes and for adult use.) Specifically, investigators tracked incidences of hospitalizations attributable to either “cannabis poisoning” or because of “mental or behavioral disorders due to the use of cannabis.” Patients in the study were tracked for a median of 240 days.
During the course of the trial, investigators reported that a total of 14 patients were hospitalized for issues related to cannabis toxicity and 26 were admitted for either mental or behavioral disorders. The findings push back against high-profile claims from some cannabis reform opponents that frequent marijuana exposure is a trigger for psychosis and other mental health disorders.
“The results suggest that the incidence of cannabis poisoning or cannabis-related mental or behavioral disorders was low among patients who were authorized to use cannabis for medical care,” authors concluded. “Our observation of small rates of ED visits and hospitalization for cannabis poisoning and CUDs [cannabis use disorders] among this large cohort of medical cannabis users helps address concerns regarding increasing use of medical cannabis.”
Full text of the study, “Incidence and predictors of cannabis-related poisonings and mental and behavioral disorders among patients with a medical cannabis authorization: A cohort study,” appears in Substance Use & Misuse. Additional information on cannabis and mental health is available from NORML’s white paper, ‘Cannabis, Mental Health, and Context: The Case for Regulation.