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Cannabis Arteritis: Review of the Literature

Cottencin, Olivier MD, PhD; Karila, Laurent MD; Lambert, Marc MD, PhD; Arveiller, Catherine MD; Benyamina, Amine MD; Boissonas, Alain MD, PhD; Goudemand, Michel MD, PhD; Reynaud, Michel MD, PhD

Journal of Addiction Medicine: December 2010 - Volume 4 - Issue 4 - p 191-196
doi: 10.1097/ADM.0b013e3181beb022
Review Article

Consumption of cannabis in young adults has continued to increase in recent years. Cannabis arteritis was first described in the 1960s, but the number of cases has continued to increase. We reviewed current knowledge of the different types of cannabis arteritis in young adults and found 70 cases of cannabis arteritis in the literature. We discuss physiopathological arguments in favor of cannabis vascular toxicity per se, although we did not find sufficient evidence to identify cannabis arteritis as a specific diagnostic entity. Many factors suggest a link between cannabis consumption and arteritis in young adults, but it is difficult to say whether this type of arteritis is similar to thromboangiitis obliterans. We were unable to demonstrate a formal association between cannabis smoking and the development of thromboangiitis obliterans, because most case reports showed associated tobacco smoking (97%) and the number of years cannabis had been smoked by the participants was mostly unknown. Cannabis consumption would however seems to be an aggravating factor, together with tobacco, in arteritis, which occurs in young adults.

From the Departments of Addictology (OC, MG) and Internal Medicine (ML), University Hospital of Lille, Lille; and Department of Addictology (LK, CA, A Benyamina, A Boissonas), Paul Brousse University Hospital, Villejuif, France.

Received for publication May 5, 2009; accepted August 28, 2009.

Send correspondence and reprint requests to Olivier Cottencin, MD, PhD, Department of Addictology, University of Medicine of Lille 2, University Hospital of Lille, 57 Boulevard de Metz, 59037 Lille, France. e-mail:

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

© 2010 American Society of Addiction Medicine