Daily Cannabis Users with Sickle Cell Disease Show Fewer Admissions than Others with Similar Pain Complaints

View details for Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research cover image “Previous studies have shown that cannabis use is common in adults with sickle cell disease (SCD), and that many patients report using cannabis to treat pain.

Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study of adults with SCD and compared daily users of cannabis with others using validated patient-reported measures of pain and quality of life as well as opioid and health care utilization.

Results: Daily cannabis users with SCD had worse pain episode severity scores than others (56.7 vs. 48.8, p=0.02) yet had 1.8 fewer annual admissions (p=0.01) and 1.2 fewer annual emergency room (ER) visits (p=0.01), and similar amounts of opioids dispensed to others after matching for age, gender, SCD genotype, hydroxyurea use, and pain impact scores.

Conclusions: We show that people with SCD with more severe pain crisis are more likely to use daily cannabis, yet have lower rates of hospital admission and ER use as compared with others with similar disease severity and pain impact. Randomized controlled trials should be performed.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32923662/

“We posit that people with SCD with severe pain are more likely to use daily cannabis due to its analgesic properties. This would explain why daily users reported more severe pain crises yet had fewer admissions and ER visits after propensity matching was performed.”

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/can.2019.0036

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