Clinical Edge

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Acute Illness and Cannabis Use in Adults

Ann Intern Med; ePub 2019 Mar 26; Monte, et al

In an observational study of adults from a large urban academic hospital in Colorado, emergency department (ED) visits attributable to inhaled cannabis were more frequent than those attributable to edible cannabis. The study described and compared adult ED visits related to edible and inhaled cannabis exposure. Measurements included patient demographic characteristics, route of exposure, dose, symptoms, length of stay, disposition, discharge diagnoses, and attribution of visit to cannabis. Researchers found:

  • There were 9,973 visits for cannabis use.
  • Of these visits, 2,567 (25.7%) were at least partially attributable to cannabis, and 238 of those (9.3%) were related to edible cannabis.
  • Visits attributable to inhaled cannabis were more likely to be for cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome.
  • Visits attributable to edible cannabis were more likely due to acute psychiatric symptoms, intoxication, and cardiovascular symptoms.


Monte AA, Shelton SK, Mills E, et al. Acute illness associated with cannabis use, by route of exposure: An observational study. [Published online ahead of print March 26, 2019]. Ann Intern Med. doi:10.7326/M18-2809.