Research: Marijuana users more likely to need emergency care and hospitalisation

By July 21, 2022 Recent News

New Canadian study, published in BMJ Open Respiratory Research, suggests that cannabis use is associated with increased risk for serious adverse health events, and is linked to heightened emergency care and hospital admissions. Researchers conclude “its recreational consumption in the general population should be discouraged”.

“Our research demonstrates that cannabis use in the general population is associated with heightened risk of clinically serious negative outcomes, specifically, needing to present to the ED [emergency department] or be admitted to hospital.” says Dr. Nicholas Vozoris (MD, FRCPC, MHSc), respirologist and lead author of the study. 

The research analysed the national health survey and health records data for 35,114 Canadians aged 12 to 65, from January 2009 until December 2015.

Cannabis users were 22 percent more likely than those who don’t use the drug to end up in emergency care or become hospitalised for any reason. Acute trauma (15%) was the most common cause of emergency admissions, followed closely by respiratory health (14%).

“Unlike tobacco, there is some uncertainty or controversy regarding the adverse health impacts of cannabis. Some individuals may perceive that cannabis has some health benefits and is otherwise benign. Our research highlights to those using – or considering to use – cannabis, that this behavior is associated with important negative health events.” says Dr. Vozoris.

Dr. Vozoris is an Assistant Professor and Clinician Investigator within the Division of Respirology, Department of Medicine, at the University of Toronto. He is also a Staff Respirologist at St. Michael’s Hospital.

The evidence is telling, and the message is clear: avoiding recreational drugs, including cannabis, is the only safe choice.

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*This post was written by Family First staff writers.