Heavy cannabis use has been associated with the development of acute myocardial infarction and stroke. The objective of this study was to determine if heavy, chronic cannabis use is associated with the development of acute limb ischemia (ALI) or critical limb ischemia (CLI).
We conducted a retrospective cohort study within the National Inpatient Sample (2006–2015). Patients without cannabis use disorder (CUD) were matched to patients with CUD in a 2:1 ratio using propensity scores. Our primary outcomes were incidence of ALI and CLI. Secondary outcomes included incidence of acute mesenteric ischemia (AMI), chronic mesenteric ischemia (CMI), frequency of open or endovascular interventions, length of stay, and total costs. Sensitivity analyses were performed with alternative models, including in the entire unmatched cohort with regression models utilizing survey weights to account for sampling methodology.
We identified a cohort of 46,297 857 unmatched patients. Patients with CUD in the unmatched cohort were younger, with less cardiovascular risk factors, but higher rates of smoking and substance abuse. The matched cohort included 824,856 patients with CUD and 1,610,497 controls. Those with CUD had a higher incidence of ALI (OR 1.20 95% CI: 1.04-1.38 P=.016). Following multiple sensitivity analyses, there was no robust association between CLI and CUD. We observed no robust association of CUD with AMI, CMI, procedures performed, frequency of amputation, costs, or total length of stay.
Cannabis use disorder was associated with a significantly higher incidence of admission for acute limb ischemia. CUD was not associated with an increased risk of critical limb ischemia following sensitivity analysis. Given CUD is often seen in younger, less co-morbid patients it provides an important target for intervention in this population.