Cannabis arteritis

Br J Dermatol. 2005 Jan;152(1):166-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2005.06340.x.


The main causes of arteriopathy in young patients include drugs, metabolic diseases, pseudoxanthoma elasticum and Buerger's disease. Arteritis due to Cannabis indica was first reported in 1960, and the role of this drug as a risk factor for arteritis was confirmed in several subsequent publications. A 38-year-old smoker with no previous contributory medical history except for long-standing cannabis abuse developed a dry necrotic lesion of the left big toe. Imaging examinations revealed proximal arteriopathy of the lower limbs that predominated on the left side. He had no atherogenic or thrombogenic risk factors, and no signs of pseudoxanthoma elasticum were found. Remarkably, the development of arteritis paralleled cannabis abuse. The course was slowly favourable after weaning from the drug, vasodilator treatment and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Despite some subtle clinical differences (more proximal than distal involvement), cannabis arteritis may be considered as a particular form of Buerger's disease, where cannabis, along with tobacco, seems to cause arterial lesions. Along with the noxious effects of cannabis on vessels, a role for contaminating arsenic is also possible. Cannabis arteritis is not widely known, but may prove not to be so rare if one considers consumption of cannabis besides that of tobacco.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Hallux / pathology
  • Humans
  • Leg / blood supply*
  • Male
  • Marijuana Abuse / complications*
  • Necrosis / etiology
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Thromboangiitis Obliterans / etiology*