Cannabis attitudes and patterns of use among followers of the Allergy & Asthma Network.

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Background: Cannabis use in allergy/asthma patients, a high-risk group for adverse effects to cannabis, is unknown.

Objective: To determine patterns of use and attitudes toward cannabis in allergy/asthma patients.

Methods: An anonymous online survey on cannabis attitudes and use was conducted through the Adult Allergy & Asthma Network (AAN). The Asthma Control Test assessed asthma burden. Cluster analyses determined group phenotypes and factor analyses condensed cannabis subjective effects into similar response patterns.

Results: Eighty-eight of 489 (18.0%) respondents currently use cannabis with the majority <50 years-old, female, and White. Of non-cannabis users (N=401), 2.5% reported cannabis allergy. Cluster analysis revealed a liberal attitude towards cannabis was associated with current cannabis use (P<0.001). Among current cannabis users, 40.9% of physicians inquired about cannabis use; only 37.5% wanted to discuss cannabis. 65.9% used cannabis for medical or medical/recreational purposes. Cannabinoids used were tetrahydrocannabinol (33.0%), cannabidiol (19.3%), or both (47.7%). Smoked and vaped cannabis were reported by 53.4% and 35.2%, respectively. Fifty-one cannabis users (58.0%) reported current asthma with 39.2% uncontrolled; of these, 50% smoked cannabis. Compared to current asthma patients not using cannabis, those currently using cannabis experienced similar levels of asthma control, quality of life, and frequency of asthma exacerbations. Positive effects were endorsed more than negative effects to cannabis (P<0.001). 19.3% reported coughing which was associated with smoking cannabis (P<0.001).

Conclusion: Cannabis was used by <20% of respondents with positive effects more frequent than negative effects. Half of cannabis users with uncontrolled asthma smoke cannabis, but a minority of physicians inquire about its use.

Keywords: allergy; asthma; cannabis; cluster analysis; factor analysis; survey.

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