The COVID-19 cannabis health study: Results from an epidemiologic assessment of adults who use cannabis for medicinal reasons in the United States

Denise C. Vidot, Jessica Y. Islam, Marlene Camacho-Rivera, Melissa B. Harrell, Devika R. Rao, Jennifer V. Chavez, Lucas G. Ochoa, Way Way M. Hlaing, Michelle Weiner, Sarah E. Messiah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Clinical indications for medicinal cannabis include chronic conditions; thus users (MCUs) are at an increased risk of morbidity and mortality resulting from SARS-CoV-2 infection (COVID-19). The study aimed to provide data on cannabis use and self-reported behavioral changes among MCUs with preexisting chronic conditions in response to the pandemic. Methods: An internet-based questionnaire was administered to adults ≥18 who self-reported medicinal cannabis use within the past year. Data are from respondents between March 21 and April 23, 2020; response rate was 83.3%. Health conditions and cannabis frequency, route, and patterns of use were assessed via the COVID-19 Cannabis Health Questionnaire (Vidot et al. 2020). Results: Participants (N = 1202) were predominantly non-Hispanic white (82.5%) and 52.0% male (mean age 47.2 years). Mental health (76.7%), pain (43.7%), cardiometabolic (32.9%), respiratory (16.8%), and autoimmune (12.2%) conditions were most reported. Those with mental health conditions reported increased medicinal cannabis use by 91% since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic compared to those with no mental health conditions (adjusted odds ratio: 1.91, 95% CI: 1.38–2.65). 6.8% reported suspected COVID-19 symptoms. Two percent (2.1%) have been tested for COVID-19 with only 1 positive test result. Some MCUs (16%) changed their route of cannabis administration, switching to nonsmoking forms. Conclusions: The majority of MCUs reported at least one preexisting chronic health condition. Over half report fear of COVID-19 diagnosis and giving the virus to someone else; yet only some switched from smoking to nonsmoking forms of cannabis. Clinicians may consider asking about cannabis use among their patients, particularly those with chronic health conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Addictive Diseases
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • Covid-19
  • SARS
  • cannabis
  • chronic disease
  • marijuana
  • mental health
  • prevention
  • vape

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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