Alcohol, Not Cannabis Use, Associated With Increased Injury Risk

Columbia, MO: Past use of cannabis is not associated with an increased risk of injury requiring hospitalization, according to the findings of a case-control study published in the March/April issue of the journal Missouri Medicine.

Investigators at the University of Missouri, Department of Medicine, assessed the association between past cannabis use and injury among adults age 18 to 60. Researchers conducted interviews with 2,161 injured subjects requiring emergency room treatment and 1,856 controls matched for age and gender.

“Self-reported marijuana use in the previous seven days was associated in this study with a substantially decreased risk of injury,” investigators reported. In contrast, use of other illicit drugs and/or recent drinking (in the prior six hours) was associated “with a greatly increased risk of injury.”

Previous research published last year in the Journal of TRAUMA Injury, Infection, and Critical Care also reported that cannabis use is not independently associated with injuries requiring hospitalization. That study, conducted by investigators at SUNY (State University of New York) Buffalo’s Department of Family Medicine, reported, “Alcohol and cocaine use is independently associated with violence-related injuries, whereas opiate use is independently associated with nonviolent injuries and burns. … Associations of positive toxicology test results for … cannabis … with injury type, injury mechanisms, and outcomes were not statistically significant.”

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Senior Policy Analyst, at (202) 483-5500. Full text of the study, “Marijuana and other illicit drug use and the risk of injury: A case-control study,” appears in the March/April issue of Missouri Medicine.