Marijuana Use by Adolescents and Young Adults with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

J Pediatr. 2018 Aug:199:99-105. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2018.03.041. Epub 2018 Apr 16.


Objective: To evaluate marijuana use by adolescents and young adults with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Study design: This descriptive cross-sectional study of patients seen between December 2015 through June 2017 at Children's Hospital Colorado for IBD enrolled patients 13-23 years of age, independent of marijuana use status. Information obtained consisted of chart review, electronic and interview self-report, and serum cannabinoid levels. Marijuana ever-users were compared with never-users for clinical characteristics and perceptions of risk with use; users provided information on routes, patterns, motivations, and perceived benefits and problems with use.

Results: Of 99 participants, ever-use was endorsed by 32% (32 of 99) and daily or almost daily use by 9% (9 of 99). Older age was the only characteristic related to endorsing marijuana use. Twenty-nine ever-users completed all questionnaires. After adjusting for age, users were 10.7 times more likely to perceive low risk of harm with regular use (P < .001). At least 1 medical reason for use was endorsed by 57% (17 of 30), most commonly for relief of physical pain (53%, 16 of 30) (2 did not complete all questionnaires). Problems from use were identified by 37% (11 of 30), most commonly craving/strong urge to use. Most common route of use was smoking (83%) followed by edibles (50%), dabbing (40%), and vaping (30%).

Conclusions: Marijuana use by adolescents and young adults with IBD is common and perceived as beneficial. Guidelines for screening, testing, and counseling of marijuana use should be developed for patients with IBD.

Keywords: adolescents; inflammatory bowel disease; marijuana.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Colorado / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Marijuana Smoking*
  • Marijuana Use / epidemiology*
  • Motivation / physiology*
  • Self Report
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult