Study: Marijuana Use Not Associated With Adverse Outcomes In Transplant Patients

Baltimore, MD: A history of marijuana use is not contraindicated in kidney transplantation, according to data published online ahead of print in the journal Clinical Transplantation.

Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine evaluated the association between marijuana use and treatment outcomes in 1,225 kidney recipients from 2008 to 2013. Compared to non-users, those patients who tested positive for cannabis experienced no greater risk of adverse outcomes after one year.

“[R]ecreational marijuana use should not be considered a contraindication to kidney transplantation,” authors concluded. “[R]ecreational marijuana use should be systematically evaluated in a larger setting before a decision is made on what, if any, degree of use or abuse should be considered a relative or absolute contraindication, or whether use or abuse should be considered a contraindication.”

Hospitals routinely disqualify patients with a history of marijuana use from being eligible for organ transplants, even in jurisdictions that permit its medicinal use under state law. Last year, California lawmakers approved legislation, Assembly Bill 258, explicitly making such patients eligible for receiving transplants.

A prior evaluation of liver transplant candidates reported that marijuana use possessed no adverse effects on mortality outcome. A 2015 clinical trial reported that CBD administration was effective at mitigating certain potential adverse effects of stem cell transplantation.

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: Full text of the study, “Recreational marijuana use is not associated with worse outcomes after renal transplantation,” appears in Clinical Transplantation.