Cannaboid Use in Liver Transplant Recipients

K Yan, L Forman. Liver Transplantation; 2021; 27: 1623-1632. Open Access: Cannabinoid Use Among Liver Transplant Recipients

Key findings:

  • 23.8% of liver transplant recipients reported current MJ use (of 538 who responded to survey
  • Top reasons for MJ use were recreation (56.5%), anxiety (54.8%), and pain (53.2%)
  •  Among respondents, 21.0% currently used CBD, usually in the form of creams or lotions (58.9%) and to relieve pain (84.9%) and anxiety (31.1%)

The authors note that MJ (marijuana) use previously was not associated with adverse liver tranplant outcomes (in one study); however, there are “there are case reports of drug interactions resulting in tacrolimus toxicity in patients using MJ and CBD.” And, MJ by inhalation may increase the risk for pulmonary fungal/aspergillosis. The use of MJ was similar to previous data in the general Colorado population, “18.1% of adults aged 18 and older in Colorado had used MJ in the past month in 2017-2018, compared with 10.2% of adults nationally.”

My take: Cannaboid use is common in liver transplant recipients and in the general population. More data is needed to understand its safety.

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