Original Contributions|Articles in Press


Published:February 24, 2023DOI:



      Nationally, in states where cannabis has been legalized, increases in cannabis-related hospitalizations and emergency department (ED) visits have also been observed.


      This study aims to: 1) Describe the sociodemographic characteristics of cannabis users presenting to two academic EDs in California; 2) Assess cannabis-related behaviors; 3) Assess perceptions of cannabis; 4) Identify and describe reasons for cannabis-related ED utilization.


      This is a cross-sectional study of patients visiting one of two academic EDs between February 16, 2018 and November 21, 2020. Eligible participants completed a novel questionnaire developed by the authors. Basic descriptive statistics, Pearson correlation coefficients, and logistic regression were used for statistical analysis of responses.


      The questionnaire was completed by 2577 patients. A quarter were categorized as Current Users (n = 628, 24.4%). Current, Regular Users were evenly divided across gender, were relatively younger (18–34 years, 48.1%), and were largely non-Hispanic Caucasian. Over half of all respondents believed that the use of cannabis was less harmful than tobacco or alcohol use (n = 1537, 59.6%). One in five Current Users (n = 123, 19.8%) reported driving while using cannabis in the past month. A small proportion (n = 24, 3.9%) of Current Users reported ever visiting the ED for a cannabis-related chief complaint.


      Overall, many ED patients are currently using cannabis; few report utilizing the ED due to cannabis-related problems. Current, Irregular Users may represent the ideal target group for ED-based educational efforts aimed at improving knowledge of safe cannabis use.


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