Background: Despite being illegal in most countries, cannabis is highly utilised by a growing number of individuals for recreational purposes worldwide. With its increasing legalisation in many states across the United States, the effects of cannabis on different body systems are expected to rise. Its association with peripheral vascular disease (PVD) remains ambiguous.
Objective: To examine if there is a difference in prevalence of PVD amongst patients who use cannabis when compared to non-users.
Methods: Using the 2014 National Inpatient Sample database (N=7,071,762), we identified patients with and without a diagnosis of PVD. We also identified patients using cannabis (nondependent and dependent users) and non-users. We performed the univariate and bivariate analysis. After we had composed the crude models, we adjusted for every known risk factor for PVD. These factors included age, gender, tobacco, hypercholesterolemia, coronary artery disease (CAD), cerebrovascular vessel disease (CVD), hypertension, diabetes, renal failure, alcohol, obesity, race, insurance type, average income at the location of residence, and family history of PVD/CVD/CAD.
Results: In our total 7,071,762 sample, 98.27% (6,949,339) are non-users, 1.54% (108,910) are nondependent users and 0.19% (13,513) are dependent users. About 3.75% (264,920) of the patients had a diagnosis of PVD versus 96.25% (6,806,842) without a diagnosis of PVD. The odds of PVD is 20% less among nondependent users when compared to nonusers (AOR 0.80[0.76-0.85]). Furthermore, dependent users have a 55% reduced odds of developing PVD when compared to nonusers (AOR 0.45[0.35-0.57]) showing a dose-response relationship. The in-group comparison showed that dependent users were 44% less likely to have PVD when compared to non-dependent users (AOR: 0.56[0.44-0.72]). Overall, the odds of PVD remain significantly high among patients who uses tobacco (AOR 1.97 [1.95-1.99]), diabetes (AOR 1.54 [1.53-1.55]), hypercholesterolemia (AOR 1.46 [1.45-1.47]), family history of PVD/CVD/CAD (AOR 1.03 [1.01-1.05]), personal history of CAD (AOR 2.55 [2.53-2.57]).
Conclusions: Cannabis is an independent protective factor against PVD. Molecular biology evidence shows that cannabis contains various bioactive agents. Beta-caryophyllene (out of many) preferentially binds to CB-2 receptors on immune cells causing an anti-inflammatory response. We believe that more molecular studies targeting such receptors or isolating such anti-inflammatory compounds in cannabis might be useful in the treatment of vascular disease.