Cannabis Use Disorder and Epilepsy: A Cross-National Analysis of 657 072 Hospitalized Patients.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Background and objectives

Recent evidence has suggested that cannabis use precipitates cerebrovascular events. We investigated the relationship between cannabis use disorder (CUD) and hospitalization for epilepsy.


Nationwide inpatient sample (NIS) was analyzed from 2010 to 2014 for patients (age 15-54) with a primary diagnosis of epilepsy (N = 657 072) and comparison was made between patients with ICD-9 classification of CUD and without CUD. We utilized logistic regression to study the association (odds ratio [OR]) between CUD and epilepsy.


The incidence of CUD in epilepsy patients was 5.77%, and patients with CUD had a threefold higher likelihood of emergency admissions. Patients with CUD were younger (25-34 years), male and African American. In regression analysis, adjusted for confounders, cannabis (OR, 1.56), tobacco (OR, 1.20), and alcohol (OR, 1.63) use disorders were found to be associated with higher odds of epilepsy hospitalization, but lower odds with cocaine (OR, 0.953), amphetamine (OR, 0.893), and opioid (OR, 0.828) use disorders.

Conclusions and scientific significance

With the increasing prevalence of medical marijuana legalization, there is increased use of medicinal marijuana. Studies of cannabidiol and marijuana for epilepsy have been highly publicized, leading to its off-label use for treatment. There is limited evidence to suggest that the cannabinoids may also induce a seizure. This study found that CUD is independently associated with a 56% increased likelihood of epilepsy hospitalization and this association persists even after adjusting for other substance use disorders and confounders. (Am J Addict 2019;28:353-360).

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Patel, RS; Mekala, HM; Tankersley, WE

Published Date

  • September 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 28 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 353 - 360

PubMed ID

  • 31124592

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1521-0391

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1055-0496

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/ajad.12898


  • eng