Cannabis Use Associated with Fewer Hospital Readmissions in Patients with IBS

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Lower total hospitalization costs were identified in patients with IBS who used cannabis compared with patients who did not use cannabis.

The following article is part of coverage from Digestive Disease Week (DDW 2020). Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the American Gastroenterology Association made the necessary decision to cancel the meeting originally scheduled for May 2–May 5, 2020, in Chicago. While live events will not proceed as planned, readers can click here catch up on the latest research intended to be presented at the meeting.

Cannabis use is associated with reduced 30 day readmission rate and higher survival rate in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), according to study results intended to be presented at Digestive Disease Week 2020 (DDW 2020).

Using the 2016 Nationwide Readmissions database, researchers identified 6798 patients aged >18 years with principal diagnoses of IBS. They examined the use of inpatient services among patients who reported using or not using cannabis. Women comprised the majority of both cohorts.

The researchers adjusted for confounders such as: age, sex, income, insurance, and hospital bed-size using multivariate regression analysis. Patients who reported using cannabis (n=357) were noted as having a 8.1% readmission rate, compared with those who did not report using cannabis, who had a 12.7% readmission rate (aOR, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.28-0.99).  Cannabis use was also associated with shorter duration of hospital stay (adjusted mean difference, -0.44 [-0.85 to -0.03] days; P =0.036) and higher survival rates.

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The researchers also assessed the most common reasons for readmission and resource utilization. They found that enterocolitis due to C. difficile infection, IBS without diarrhea and sepsis were common among patients who did not use cannabis. They noted that, “recent studies demonstrated the biological roles of the endocannabinoid system in the gastrointestinal tract, and therefore cannabinoid receptors are the potential therapeutic targets for the gastrointestinal tract disorders.”

Disclosure: One study author declared affiliation with the pharmaceutical industry. Please see the original reference for the full list of disclosures.

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Choi, C, Abougergi M, Peluso H, Patel P, Pyrsopulous N. Cannabis use is associated with reduced 30-day readmission among hospitalized patients with irritable bowel syndrome: a nationwide analysis. Abstract intended to be presented at Digestive Disease Week 2020; May 2020 (canceled). Chicago, Illinois, United States of America.