Can J Surg. 2021 Jul 23;64(4):E403-E406. doi: 10.1503/cjs.000620.


BACKGROUND: The federal Cannabis Act came into force on Oct. 17, 2018, in Canada, making Canada only the second country in the world to legalize the cultivation, acquisition, possession and consumption of cannabis and its by-products. This provided a unique opportunity to evaluate the impact of this legislation on drug-related trauma.

METHODS: We performed a prospective observational study on the use of cannabis and other illicit drugs in the trauma population at a lead Canadian trauma centre in London, Ontario, in the 3 months before (July 1 to Sept. 30, 2018) and 3 months after (Nov. 1, 2018, to Jan. 31, 2019) the legalization of cannabis in Canada. We defined cannabis use as a positive cannabinoid screen result at the time of assessment by the trauma team. We also screened for opioids, amphetamines and cocaine.

RESULTS: A total of 210 patients were assessed by our trauma service between July 1 and Sept. 30, 2018, and 141 patients were assessed between Nov. 1, 2018, and Jan. 31, 2019. Motor vehicle collisions were the most common cause of trauma both before (101 [48.1%]) and after (67 [47.5%]) legalization. The mean Injury Severity Score was 17.6 (standard deviation [SD] 13.0) and 19.7 (SD 14.8), respectively. Drug screens were done in 88 patients (41.9%) assessed before legalization and 99 patients (70.2%) assessed after legalization. There was no difference in the rate of positive cannabinoid screen results before and after legalization (22 [25%] v. 22 [22%]). There was a trend toward higher rates of positive cannabinoid screen results (2/10 [20%] v. 5/8 [62%]) and positive toxicology screen results (5/10 [50%] v. 6/8 [75%]) after legalization among patients with penetrating trauma, but our sample was too small to achieve statistical significance.

CONCLUSION: We found no difference in the rates of positive cannabinoid screen results among patients assessed at our trauma centre in the 3 months before and the 3 months after legalization of cannabis; however, there was a trend toward an increase in the rates of positive results of toxicology screens and cannabinoid screens among those with penetrating trauma. These preliminary single-centre data showing no increased rates of cannabis use in patients with trauma after legalization are reassuring.

PMID:34296708 | DOI:10.1503/cjs.000620

Source: ncbi 2

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