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scientific articles

Marijuana use in adults living with sickle cell disease

key information

source: Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research

year: 2018

authors: Roberts JD, Spodick J, Cole J, Bozzo J, Curtis S, Forray A

summary/abstract:

Introduction:

Legal access to marijuana, most frequently as “medical marijuana,” is becoming more common in the United States, but most states do not specify sickle cell disease as a qualifying condition. We were aware that some of our patients living with sickle cell disease used illicit marijuana, and we sought more information about this.

 

Materials and Methods:

We practice at an urban, academic medical center and provide primary, secondary, and tertiary care for 130 adults living with sickle cell disease. We surveyed our patients with a brief, anonymous, paper-and-pen instrument. We reviewed institutional records for clinically driven urine drug testing. We tracked patient requests for certification for medical marijuana.

 

Results:

Among 58 patients surveyed, 42% reported marijuana use within the past 2 years. Among users, most endorsed five medicinal indications; a minority reported recreational use. Among 57 patients who had at least one urine drug test, 18% tested positive for cannabinoids only, 12% tested positive for cocaine and/or phencyclidine only, and 5% tested positive for both cannabinoids and cocaine/phencyclidine.

Subsequent to these studies, sickle cell disease became a qualifying condition for medical marijuana in our state. In the interval 1.5 years, 44 patients have requested certification.

 

Conclusion:

Our findings and those of others create a rationale for research into the possible therapeutic effects of marijuana or cannabinoids, the presumed active constituents of marijuana, in sickle cell disease. Explicit inclusion of sickle cell disease as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana might reduce illicit marijuana use and related risks and costs to both persons living with sickle cell disease and society.

 

organization: Yale University, United States; Yale New Haven Hospital, United States

DOI: 10.1089/can.2018.0001

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