Article Abstract

Severity and outcomes of acute alcoholic pancreatitis in cannabis users

Authors: Hemant Goyal, Kelsey Guerreso, Betsy Smith, Kaitlin Harper, Sheetal Patel, Akash Patel, Puja Parikh

Abstract

Background: Cannabis is the most commonly and widely used illicit drug in the world and is also the most commonly used drug of abuse in alcohol drinkers. Experimental studies have shown conflicting results of the effects of cannabis on the severity of acute pancreatitis (AP). The purpose of this study is to ascertain the clinical effects of simultaneous alcohol and cannabis use on severity at presentation and outcomes of acute alcoholic pancreatitis (AAP).
Methods: A retrospective review was conducted on the patients discharged with principle or secondary diagnosis of AP using ICD-9 & ICD-10 codes during the time period from January 2006 to December 2015 at a large community-based hospital in Central Georgia. Patients with alcoholic pancreatitis with cannabis (CB+) and without cannabis (CB) use were identified and were matched with sex and age.
Results: Our study findings showed that a greater percentage of CB+ patients did not have a systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) score (P=0.043), had a lower BISAP score (P=0.031), and had a significantly lower BUN level (P=0.033), but there was no difference in the Balthazar Index and revised Atlanta classification severity between the two groups. CB+ patients tended to need less ICU care than CB patients (P=0.059).
Conclusions: Based on our findings, we found that CB+ patients had less severe presentation of AAP indicating that cannabis could modulate the inflammatory effect of alcohol on the pancreas. Further large scale prospective studies are needed to confirm our results.

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