Study: Cannabis users with IBD require less inpatient treatment

This retrospective study examined inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) inpatient data from Washington and Colorado to determine if cannabis legalization had any impact on their treatment. It was published in the journal Crohn's & Colitis 360 in April 2022.

Data came from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) State Inpatient Databases, a database that holds inpatient discharge records from community hospitals. The authors' used this data to explore the impact of cannabis use on inpatient IBD outcomes. 18,545 adult patients with a diagnosis of UC (ulcerative colitis) or CD (Crohn's Disease) before 2011 and after 2015 were included, however the vast majority did not report cannabis use. There were 413 cannabis users out of 9,810 total inpatients after legalization in 2015.

The main takeaway seems to be that after the two states legalized adult-use cannabis use, IBD inpatients who used cannabis had significantly lower hospital expenses than those inpatients who did not use cannabis. Before legalization, IBD inpatients needed less medication to treat malnourishment, or TPN (total parenteral nutrition).

In the author's words:

In 2015 after legalization, total hospital charges were significantly less in cannabis users compared to noncannabis users [$8,418 less, on average].

Cannabis users had less TPN use than nonusers before legalization

there were no differences between cannabis users and nonusers in 2011 versus 2015 regarding mortality, steroid use, colectomy, or LOS [length of hospital stay]


The full text journal article is here at Oxford Academic.