A man has been diagnosed with a rare disease caused by daily cannabis use after a wound on his big toe would not heal.
The man, 26, went to Frankston Hospital after an ulcer on his big toe failed to heal.
A man who used cannabis daily has been diagnosed with a rare condition after his big toe failed to heal. Photo: New York Times
The man is believed to have used up to one gram of cannabis a day.
Surgeon Dr David Soon said the man’s daily habit caused a build-up of plaque around an artery in his big toe.
“Cannabis usage can cause the periphery blood vessel to tighten up and therefore increasing the resistance, and therefore increasing the amount of plaque depositing around the arteries, and therefore eventually narrowing the artery,” Dr Soon told 3AW.
Dr Soon, of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, told the Annual Scientific Congress in Brisbane it was the first known case of cannabis arteritis diagnosed in Australia.
Cannabis arteritis is a condition caused by long-term daily cannabis use that results in lesions growing on arteries.
It is a rare condition that can lead to limb amputation, but the man was instead treated with balloon angioplasty (a balloon catheter) and he will instead need to take aspirin his whole life.
“Although this is a rare condition, this illness should be known and made aware to physicians around Australia,” Dr Soon said in a statement.
Patients had a better prognosis if they stopped using cannabis, he said.
Cannabis arteritis is most commonly found in men and most patients presented with wounds in their toes.
Dr Soon warned that surgeons should be aware of the condition given the passing of legislation in Victorian allowing for medicinal cannabis treatment.
“Due to the increase in cannabis usage and the legalisation of medicinal cannabis, awareness of this condition is important and may become a growing problem in the future,” Dr Soon said.