Cannabis Use in Inpatients With Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders at a Community Hospital

Olaniyi Olayinka, Chiedozie Ojimba, Brook Alemu, Olalekan Olaolu, Desta Edomias, Olusegun Popoola, Jisha Kallikkadan, Terence Tumenta, Vijay Gayam, Leon Valbrun, Tolu Olupona, Jason Hershberger


Background: Cannabis is the second most used recreational drug in the United States and one of the most used substances in patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorder (SSD). Unfortunately, the increased use is likely to continue as more states legalize recreational use of cannabis. Although the association between cannabis and schizophrenia has been studied extensively, the understanding of the relationship is still evolving. In this study, we sought to determine the prevalence and potential factors associated with cannabis use (CU) among inpatients with SSD at a community teaching hospital.

Methods: We performed a retrospective review of the electronic medical charts of patients discharged from the psychiatric unit of our hospital from July 1, 2017 through October 31, 2017. Patients were included in this study if: 1) They were ≥ 18 years old; 2) They had discharge diagnosis of SSD; and 3) They had urine drug testing performed. Pertinent sociodemographic and clinical variables, including substance use status and hospital length of stay (LOS), were abstracted. Univariate frequencies and summary statistics were performed. Odds ratios (ORs) were determined by logistic regression analysis of bivariate and multivariate analyses.

Results: Three hundred sixty-five (52.2%) patients had a discharge diagnosis of SSD, and only 322 had urine toxicology result for cannabinoids and were included in analysis. Of the 322 patients, 41.5% (n = 133) screened positive for cannabinoids. Of the 133 patients, 78% were African American, 15% were Hispanic and 5% were White; 77% were male and the median age was 36 years. Bivariate analyses showed tobacco use (OR: 2.8, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.7 - 4.6), alcohol use (OR: 3.4, 95% CI: 2.9 - 7.0), younger age (OR: 2.8, 95% CI: 1.8 - 4.5), male gender (OR: 2.9, 95% CI: 2.2 - 3.2), unemployment (OR: 3.91, 95% CI: 3.49 - 7.35), homelessness (OR: 3.18, 95% CI: 2.76 - 3.84) and LOS (OR: 3.46, 95% CI: 2.93 - 4.31) were significantly associated with CU. Result of multivariate analysis was similar to that found in bivariate analysis.

Conclusions: CU appears to be prevalent among patients with SSD. Clinicians and public health professionals are encouraged to understand the health implications of its use in patients with mental illness especially against the backdrop of current marijuana laws.

J Clin Med Res. 2020;12(4):243-250


Cannabis; Marijuana; Substance use disorder; Schizophrenia; Schizophrenia spectrum disorders; Public health

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