Hypertensive Crisis Hospitalizations Higher in Non-White Men Using Cannabis

Hand holding a natural coloured rolled spliff, with a filter. Spliff is lit, creating smoke. Cannabius plants create shadow onto the white surface. Conceptual with space for copy.
Researchers at AHA 2021 presented a study that examined rates of hypertensive crisis in young cannabis users vs nonusers of different race and sex.

The following article is a part of conference coverage from the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2021, being held virtually from November 13 to 15, 2021. The team at Cardiology Advisor will be reporting on the latest news and research conducted by leading experts in cardiology. Check back for more from the AHA Scientific Sessions 2021.

Hypertensive crisis-related hospital admissions are more common among young cannabis users who are men, non-White, and have preexisting metabolic and cardiovascular comorbidities, according to study results presented at the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions 2021, held from November 13 to 15, 2021.

For the study, researchers used data from the National Inpatient Sample to find young cannabis users who had been admitted to the hospital for hypertensive crisis between October 2015 and 2017. All individuals were aged between 18 and 44 years. Researchers compared rates of hypertensive crisis hospitalizations with disparities in race and sex in cannabis users vs nonusers. Multivariable analysis helped to identify predictors of hypertensive crisis in cannabis users and the likelihood of inpatient mortality.

Of 623,715 hospital admissions for young cannabis users included in the study, 0.7% had hypertensive crisis. Compared with nonusers, higher risk for hypertensive crisis-related admissions was observed for cannabis users who were men (odds ratio [OR] 1.12; 95% CI, 1.04-1.19); Black (OR 3.28; 95% CI, 3.02-3.56); admitted nonelectively (OR 3.09; 95% CI, 2.53-3.76); or had comorbidities like chronic kidney disease (OR 8.83; 95% CI, 8.14-9.59), congestive heart failure (OR 3.35; 95% CI, 2.13-3.08), diabetes mellitus (OR 1.82; 95% CI, 1.67-1.97), valvular diseases (OR 2.56; 95% CI, 2.13-3.08), hyperlipidemia (OR 1.71; 95% CI, 1.56-1.87), obesity (OR 2.83; 95% CI, 2.62-3.05), and electrolyte and fluid disorders (OR 2.25; 95% CI, 2.11-2.40; P <.001 for all). In-hospital mortality was less likely for cannabis users admitted for hypertensive crisis compared with nonusers (OR 0.67; 0.45-0.99; P <.05) after adjustments for confounders.

The study data indicated that non-White men who use cannabis had higher odds of hypertensive crisis admissions and that those with pre-existing cardiovascular and metabolic comorbidities had a higher likelihood of developing hypertensive crisis. Future studies are needed to investigate cannabis users’ lower risk for inpatient mortality after hypertensive crisis.


Desai R, Gandhi ZJ, Jnaneswaran G, et al. Burden and predictors of hypertensive crisis-related hospitalizations and outcomes in young cannabis users: a nationwide multi-center analysis. Presented at: AHA Scientific Sessions 2021; November 13-15, 2021. Poster P1997.


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