Patterns of Marijuana Use Among Patients With Celiac Disease in the United States: A Population-based Analysis of the NHANES Survey

J Clin Gastroenterol. 2020 Mar;54(3):242-248. doi: 10.1097/MCG.0000000000001220.


Background: Marijuana use has been assessed in patients with chronic gastrointestinal disorders and may contribute to either symptoms or palliation. Use in those with celiac disease (CD) has not been assessed. Our aim was to evaluate patterns of marijuana use in a large population-based survey among patients with CD, people who avoid gluten (PWAG), and controls.

Study: We analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2009 to 2014. χ tests and multivariable logistic regression were used to compare participants with CD and PWAG to controls regarding the use of marijuana.

Results: Among respondents who reported ever using marijuana (overall 59.1%), routine (at-least monthly) marijuana use was reported by 46% of controls versus 6% of participants with diagnosed CD (P=0.005) and 66% undiagnosed CD as identified on serology (P=0.098) and 51% of PWAG (P=0.536). Subjects with diagnosed CD had lower odds of routine marijuana use compared with controls (odds ratio, 0.08; 95% confidence interval, 0.01-0.73), whereas participants with undiagnosed CD had increased odds of routine use (odds ratio, 2.26; 95% confidence interval, 0.83-6.13), which remained elevated even after adjusting for age, sex, race/ethnicity, health insurance status, alcohol, tobacco use, educational level, and poverty/income ratio.

Conclusions: In all groups, marijuana use was high. Although there were no differences among subjects with CD, PWAG, and controls who ever used marijuana, subjects with diagnosed CD appear to have decreased routine use of marijuana when compared with controls and PWAG. Those with undiagnosed CD have significantly higher rates of regular use. Future research should focus on the utilization of marijuana as it may contribute to further understanding of symptoms and treatments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Celiac Disease* / diagnosis
  • Celiac Disease* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Marijuana Use* / epidemiology
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Odds Ratio
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology