Cannabis May Lower Cancer Risk in Crohn’s Disease

Adults hospitalized with Crohn’s disease (CD) or ulcerative colitis (UC) who reported cannabis use had a lower frequency of colorectal cancer, parenteral nutrition, and anemia compared to nonusers, according to a retrospective analysis reported in the June issue of Annals of Translational Medicine.

The study included data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample on 6,002 patients with CD (2,999 cannabis users) and 1,481 with UC (742 cannabis users) who were hospitalized between 2010 and 2014. In patients with CD, cannabis use was linked to a significantly lower prevalence of colorectal cancer (0.3% vs 1.2%, P<0.001), need for parenteral nutrition (3.0% vs 4.7%, P=0.001) and anemia (25.6% vs 30.1%, P<0.001), but a significantly higher risk of active fistulizing disease or intraabdominal abscess formation (8.6% vs 5.9%, P<0.001), unspecific lower gastrointestinal (GI) hemorrhage (4.0% vs 2.7%, P=0.004) and hypovolemia (1.2% vs 0.5%, P=0.004).

Patients with UC who used cannabis had a significantly lower frequency of postoperative infections (<0.1% vs 3.4%, P=0.010), but a higher frequency of fluid and electrolyte disorders (45.1% vs 29.6%, P<0.001) and hypovolemia (2.7% vs <0.1%). In both groups, cannabis use was linked to a significantly shorter length of hospital stay and reduced costs per stay (P<0.001 for all comparisons).

In a second analysis of Nationwide Inpatient Sample data, researchers reported that CUD was linked to an increased likelihood of hospitalizations for CD or UC, after controlling for demographics, psychiatric and medical comorbidities, and other substance use disorders.

Desai R, Patel U, Goyal H, et al. In-hospital outcomes of inflammatory bowel disease in cannabis users: a nationwide propensity-matched analysis in the United States. Ann Transl Med. 2019;7(12):252.

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