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Illicit Market, CUD, and Cannabis-Related Hospitalizations

Few scientific studies examine the prevalence of hospitalization cases in cannabis users, even though it is a common reason given against cannabis legalization. Evidence suggests that hospitalization rates could potentially predict later diagnosis of Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD). CPPC’s preliminary analysis at the state level provides a snapshot of state-wide hospitalizations in cannabis users for 19 states – Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington.

We found that on average across these 20 states, approximately 6% of those who used cannabis in the past year reported going to the hospital for a cannabis-specific issue at least once in the past year, and an additional 5% reported doing so in the past, but more than a year ago.

On page 2, we see consistent, moderate-size correlations within states between problematic cannabis use, cannabis-related hospitalizations, and illicit cannabis consumption derived from a dealer. These findings provide initial evidence that types of illicit cannabis consumption may be associated with elevated risk of problematic cannabis use and cannabis- related hospitalizations, which provides a potential bridge point between public health officials, state regulators, and the cannabis industry given the association between legal cannabis implementation and lowering of illicit cannabis consumption.

View the report here.