Catherine A. Marco
Cannabis use is increasing nationwide. Many states have legalized medical and recreational use of cannabis. This study was undertaken to identify any association between cannabis use and chronic pain among ED patients.
This was a prospective survey study of Emergency Department (ED) patients at Miami Valley Hospital, a level 1 trauma center in Dayton, Ohio conducted during June – August 2018. The survey included data regarding the frequency of cannabis use, chronic pain, and current mental illness.
Three hundred and sixty patients participated in this study. The majority of respondents were white (55%) or African American (42%). Participants reported a mean triage pain score of 7. Nearly 50% of participants suffered from chronic pain. Twenty-seven percent of participants reported cannabis use within the past month. Dividing cannabis use into 4 frequency categories (0 days use, 1-2 days use, 3-29 days use, and 30 days use), patients who used cannabis more frequently reported higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts (p<0.01). Over 40% of daily cannabis users reported experiencing depression and over 50% reported feeling severely anxious. Patients experiencing chronic pain were not more likely to present with substance use. However, patients experiencing chronic pain were more likely to experience higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts (p<0.001; Mann Whitney Wilcoxon two-tailed test).
Cannabis use was commonly reported in this patient population. The prevalence of mental illness was high. Cannabis use was associated with anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Participants with chronic pain were more likely to experience higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.
Detherage, J. (2019). Cannabis Use and Association with Pain, Anxiety, and Depression Among Emergency Department Patients. Wright State University. Dayton, Ohio.