Background: To investigate the hypothesis that cases of arteritis similar to thromboangiitis obliterans (TAO) and associated with the use of cannabis were caused by cannabis or THC (dronabinol), or that cannabis use is a co-factor of TAO.
Patients and methods: A systematic review on case reports and the literature on so-called cannabis arteritis, TAO, and cardiovascular effects of cannabinoids was conducted.
Results: Fifteen reports with 57 cases of an arteritis associated with the use of cannabis and two additional case series of TAO, in which some patients also used cannabis, were identified. Clinical and pathological features of cannabis-associated arteritis do not differ from TAO and the major risk factor of TAO, tobacco use, was present in most, if not in all of these cases. The proposed pathophysiological mechanisms for the development of an arteritis by cannabis use are not substantiated.
Conclusions: The hypothesis of cannabis being a causative factor or co-factor of TAO or an arteritis similar to TAO is not supported by the available evidence. The use of the term cannabis arteritis should be avoided until or unless more convincing scientific support is forthcoming.