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Trends and Related Factors of Cannabis-Associated Emergency Department Visits in the United States

2006–2014

Shen, Jay J., PhD; Shan, Guogen, PhD; Kim, Pearl C., MHA; Yoo, Ji Won, MD; Dodge-Francis, Carolee, EdD; Lee, Yong-Jae, MD

doi: 10.1097/ADM.0000000000000479
Original Research
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Objectives: To examine national trends and contributing factors of cannabis-associated emergency department visits in the United States.

Methods: This pooled serial cross-sectional study used a hierarchical multivariable analysis on emergency department visit adjusting for year, patient and hospital characteristics. We analyzed 2006 to 2014 National Emergency Department Sample data that identified cannabis-associated emergency department visits among patients aged 12 years or older (n = 265,128).

Results: Cannabis-associated emergency department visits per 100,000 emergency department discharges increased monotonically (annually by 7%). As compared with privately insured patients, Medicare, and Medicaid, uninsured patients were over 40% more likely to visit emergency department. The age group 12 to 17 had the highest risk of emergency department visits and the risk monotonically declined as the age increased. Hospitals in the South region showed the highest cannabis-associated emergency department utilization, yet trends of cannabis-associated emergency department visits increased in the West region from 15.4% to 26% over time.

Conclusions: Cannabis-associated emergency department visits increase monotonically over time. Although vulnerable persons were identified, additional policy or regional factors should explore risks of emergency department visits associated with cannabis use.

Department of Health Care Administration and Policy, School of Community Health Sciences, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV (JJS); Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, School of Community Health Sciences, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV (GS); Department of Health Care Administration and Policy, School of Community Health Science, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV (PCK); Department of Internal Medicine, UNLV School of Medicine, Las Vegas, NV (JWY); Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, School of Community Health Sciences, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV (CD-F); Department of Family Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea (YJL).

Send correspondence to Jay J. Shen, PhD, Department of Health Care Administration and Policy, School of Community Health Sciences, University of Nevada, 4505 S Maryland Parkway, Box 453023, Las Vegas, NV 89154-3023. E-mail: jay.shen@unlv.edu.

Received 24 July, 2018

Accepted 23 October, 2018

The authors disclose no conflicts of interest.

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© 2019 American Society of Addiction Medicine