Cannabis and Stroke
Systematic Appraisal of Case Reports
Background and Purpose—An increasing number of case reports link cannabis consumption to cerebrovascular events. Yet these case reports have not been scrutinized using criteria for causal inference.
Methods—All case reports on cannabis and cerebrovascular events were retrieved. Four causality criteria were addressed: temporality, adequacy of stroke work-up, effects of rechallenge, and concomitant risk factors that could account for the cerebrovascular event.
Results—There were 34 case reports on 64 patients. Most cases (81%) exhibited a temporal relationship between cannabis exposure and the index event. In 70%, the evaluation was sufficiently comprehensive to exclude other sources for stroke. About a quarter (22%) of patients had another stroke after subsequent re-exposure to cannabis. Finally, half of patients (50%) had concomitant stroke risk factors, most commonly tobacco (34%) and alcohol (11%) consumption.
Conclusions—Many case reports support a causal link between cannabis and cerebrovascular events. This accords well with epidemiological and mechanistic research on the cerebrovascular effects of cannabis.
- Received January 4, 2015.
- Revision received January 13, 2015.
- Accepted January 15, 2015.
- © 2015 American Heart Association, Inc.