Can smoking weed lead to acute inflammation of the pancreas? It appears that it might.


What you’ll Learn

  • About Pancreatitis
  • Research involving Pancreatic and Cannabis
  • Talk to your Provider

CBD & Cannabis: The Link between Pancreatitis and Cannabis

Can smoking weed lead to acute inflammation of the pancreas? It appears that it might. There’s been multiple case reports of cannabis-induced acute pancreatitis published in the last several years. Pancreatitis is an inflammatory disorder of the pancreas typically caused by a biliary system disorder where there is a biliary stone that gets lodged in the duct and causes some of the fluid that the pancreas typically secretes to back up and inflame the pancreas. It can be caused by a direct inflammatory effect from alcohol, also from infection and certain drugs. There’s actually a shockingly long list of things that can lead to pancreatitis, but you can add to that list almost certainly cannabis.

In one particular case study in 2014, a 44-year-old male presented to the emergency department with complaints of acute abdominal pain and nausea for a week that didn’t respond to Prilosec, Protonix, over-the-counter proton pump inhibitors. Testing revealed pancreatitis and the patient required hospitalization for three days. He gave a history of cannabis use, but the authors note that the prohibition on cannabis may limit patients giving an accurate history about their use of cannabis.

If there’s an episode of acute pancreatitis, it’s important for providers to remember to ask patients about their use of all drugs, including illicit drugs and in the setting of using cannabis, if you experience persistent abdominal pain with radiation to the back, some associated nausea, you might want to get a doctor’s opinion on them.