Prevalence and correlates of cannabis poisoning diagnosis in a national emergency department sample

Christopher P. Salas-Wright, Jason T. Carbone, Katherine J. Holzer, Michael G. Vaughn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Background: One of the primary cannabis-related reasons individuals seek emergency medical care is accidental cannabis poisoning. However, our understanding of the incidence and characteristics of those who receive emergency medical care due to cannabis poisoning remains limited. We address this gap by examining up-to-date information from a national study of emergency department (ED) data. Methods: The data source used for this study is the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample (NEDS). An International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10-CM) diagnostic code was used to identify accidental poisoning by cannabis (T40.7 × 1A) as specified by healthcare providers. Logistic regression was employed to examine the relationship between ED admission for cannabis poisoning, sociodemographic factors, and mental health disorders. Results: In 2016, an estimated 16,884 individuals were admitted into EDs in the United States due to cannabis poisoning, representing 0.014% of the total ED visits for individuals ages 12 and older. Individuals who sought care for cannabis poisoning were more likely to be young, male, uninsured, experience economic hardship, reside in urban central cities, and experience mental health disorders as compared to individuals admitted for other causes. Among cases that included the cannabis-poisoning code, many also had codes for accidental poisoning due to other substances such as heroin (4.7%), amphetamine (10.8%), cocaine (12.9%), and benzodiazepine (21.3%). Conclusions: Despite the limitations of ICD-10 data, findings provide new evidence suggesting that practitioners be attuned to the prevention and treatment needs of high-risk subgroups, and that screening for mental health problems should be standard practice for individuals diagnosed with cannabis poisoning.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107564
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Nov 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier B.V.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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