Higher odds and rising trends in arrhythmia among young cannabis users with comorbid depression



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European Journal of Internal Medicine


Background: Cannabis (marijuana) use and depression are known to be strongly interconnected. However, amid alarming rates of mental health problems in the United States young population, the risk of arrhythmia among young cannabis users with comorbid depression has never been studied. Methods: In-hospital encounters of arrhythmia were identified among young cannabis users (18–39 years) with or without depression using the National Inpatient Sample (2007–2014) databases and apposite ICD-9 codes. Baseline characteristics and trends in prevalence of arrhythmia were evaluated among inpatient young cannabis users with or without depression. A multivariable regression was performed after adjusting for baseline demographics, comorbidities and parallel history of substance abuse. Results: Of 2,011,598 young cannabis users (59.6% male) admitted from 2007–2014, 190,146 (9.5%) of patients had comorbid depression, of which 6.9% of patients experienced arrhythmias with atrial fibrillation being most common. Cannabis users with depression were more likely older, white, females and frequently hospitalized in Midwest and rural hospitals. We observed a steadily rising trend in prevalence of arrhythmia in both groups, but a more rapid rise in cannabis users with depression (4.9% in 2007 to 8.5% in 2014 vs. 3.7% in 2007 to 5.7% in 2014). Correspondingly, young depressed cannabis users had higher odds of arrhythmia compared to non-depressed even after controlling for demographics and comorbidities (OR: 1.41, 95% CI: 1.38–1.44, p<0.001). Conclusion: Rampant recreational use of marijuana may increase the risk of arrhythmia by 40% in young cannabis users with depression as compared to non-depressed.

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