Cannabis-Induced Acute Pancreatitis: A Systematic Review

Pancreas. 2017 Sep;46(8):1035-1038. doi: 10.1097/MPA.0000000000000873.


Objectives: Cannabis is the most frequently consumed illicit drug in the world, with higher prevalence under the age of 35 years. Cannabis was first reported as a possible cause of acute pancreatitis (AP) in 2004. The aim of this systematic review is to examine cannabis use as an etiology of AP.

Methods: A search using PubMed/Medline, Embase, Scopus, and Cochrane was performed without language or year limitations to May 1, 2016. Search terms were "Cannabis" and "Acute Pancreatitis" with all permutations. The search yielded 239 results. Acute pancreatitis was defined by meeting 2 of 3 Revised Atlanta Classification criteria. Cannabis-induced AP was defined by preceding use of cannabis and exclusion of common causes of AP when reported. Sixteen papers met inclusion criteria dating from 2004 to 2016.

Results: There were 26 cases of cannabis-induced AP (23/26 men; 24/26 under the age of 35 y). Acute pancreatitis correlated with increased cannabis use in 18 patients. Recurrent AP related temporally to cannabis use was reported in 15 of 26. There are 13 reports of no further AP episodes after cannabis cessation.

Conclusions: Cannabis is a possible risk factor for AP and recurrent AP, occurring primarily in young patients under the age of 35 years. Toxicology screens should be considered in all patients with idiopathic AP.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cannabis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pancreatitis / chemically induced
  • Pancreatitis / diagnosis*
  • Pancreatitis / prevention & control*
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult