This article is part of MPR’s coverage of the CHEST Virtual 2020 meeting.

Patients admitted to the hospital as a result of an asthma exacerbation who were diagnosed with cannabis dependence appeared to have poorer outcomes than those without the diagnosis, according to research presented at the CHEST Annual Meeting 2020 held virtually, October 18 to 21.

Researchers conducted a retrospective analysis using the 2016 and 2017 National Readmission Database. The primary outcome was in-hospital mortality. Other outcomes of interest included 30-day readmission rates, resource utilization, and morbidity including intubation rates, prolonged invasive mechanical ventilation (>96 hours), and bronchoscopy rates.

Of the 179,771 patients hospitalized with asthma exacerbation included in the study, 6583 (3.67%) had a diagnosis of cannabis dependence. The patients in the cannabis dependence group had a mean age of 35 and were more likely to be men. In the primary study outcome, cannabis dependence was associated with greater in-hospital mortality (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 2.97; P <.01), higher morbidity including intubation rates (aOR, 1.51; P <.01), and higher resource utilization. Both patient groups had similar odds of 30-day readmission as well as bronchoscopy rates and lengths of stay.

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“As the legalization of recreational cannabis use continues to gain popularity, clinicians and legislators need to consider the above implications of cannabis use,” the researchers wrote. “Future studies should evaluate the exact mechanism of increased mortality and morbidity linked to cannabis dependence.”

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Patel P, Arjun S, Wang Y, Li S, Patel P. Impact of cannabis dependence in patients admitted with asthma exacerbation on their healthcare outcomes and readmission: a US population cohort study. Presented at: the CHEST Virtual Annual Meeting; October 18-21, 2020. Abstract 24.

This article originally appeared on Pulmonology Advisor