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

Rikinkumar S. Patel, Hema M. Mekala, William E. Tankersley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


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. Methods: 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. Results: 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).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-360
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal on Addictions
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


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