May 5, 2020

Trends in Documented Cannabis Use Disorder Among Hospitalized Adult Epilepsy Patients in the United States

Objective: Patients with epilepsy are at increased risk for mental health and substance abuse disorders. Given ongoing contemporary societal controversies about medicinal and recreational cannabis use, we aimed to ascertain recent nationwide prevalence, trends, and psychiatric diagnoses associated with cannabis use disorders (CUD) among epilepsy patients.

Results: Of all hospitalized patients with epilepsy, 3.19 % had CUD., CUD was higher in males, people of color, those aged 18?44 years, those with lower incomes, and those hospitalized during more recent years. CUD was more likely to be present in epilepsy patients with depression, bipolar disorder, and tobacco use disorder. In contrast, alcohol use disorder  was associated with lower odds of CUD. Overall, CUD prevalence more than doubled among epilepsy patients (2.18 % in 2006 to 4.41 % in 2014). Among patients with PTSD, CUD prevalence increased over fivefold, and it nearly tripled in those with tobacco use disorder.

Significance: Documented cannabis use disorder has doubled among hospitalized patients with epilepsy in the United States over the last decade and is especially more prevalent in specific demographic and mental health disorder groups. Increased awareness and potential screening for cannabis use disorder in high-risk epilepsy patients may be warranted, given the risk for potential complications.

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