Cannabis use and risk of tuberculosis: a systematic review (STUDY 2019)

  • Cannabis use and risk of tuberculosis: a systematic review (STUDY 2019)

A new study examines the relationship between cannabis use and the possible outbreak of tuberculosis.

Extract from the study

Study background:

Cannabis has been identified as a potential risk trigger for the outbreak of tuberculosis. As it is the most widely used illicit substance in the western part of the world, this is a very important public health issue. We focused on systematic summaries of evidence on the relationship between cannabis and tuberculosis (latent infection and already active disease) to inform about current and future tuberculosis prevention and disseminate awareness of safety strategies.

Methods used:

We based the study on a systematic review of available resources. We searched the Ovid Medline, Embase and PsycInfo platforms. We also missed the World Health Organization (WHO) and Google Scholar search engines. The records were searched for records of all years until January 2018.

Reference lists and conference summaries were searched manually. Experts were called to search the citations. Independently of each other, two authors reviewed the available studies. Adapted versions of ROBINS-I (Risk of Bias in Non-randomized Studies - of Interventions) were used to obtain data and assess the risk of impact. Data were narratively synthesized.


Of the 377 records available, 11 were eligible and could be used. The concepts of screening studies were diverse. In six studies, suitable instruments were used to allow accurate comparisons. Four of them focused on the link between cannabis and latent tuberculosis infection; they all had some relationship but only two were confusing.

The other two studies looked at the relationship between cannabis and active tuberculosis disease. Also, no evidence was found regarding the merger.

All six studies were at a "serious" risk of being affected. In the remaining five studies, where no comparators were used, there were indications of tuberculosis in cannabis users, but the quality of this evidence is very poor.


The evidence to support the impact of cannabis on tuberculosis is really poor. This topic needs deeper research for which it is necessary to gather consistent and accurate information, including practices such as cannabis, doses and frequencies.

Additional material for the electronic version: The online version of this article (10.1186 / s12889-019-7127-0) contains supplemental material that is available to authorized persons.

Key words: tuberculosis, cannabis, systematic review, pooled evidence

Authors: Clare E. French, Caroline M. Coope, Luke A. McGuinness, Charles R. Beck, Sophie Newitt, Lauren Ahyow, Matt Hickman, Isabel Oliver.
You can read more of this study here: The whole study is in English.

Photo Source: (Tuberculosis_symptoms.svg: Mikael Häggströmderivative work: Adam Zabransky [Public domain])