The relationship between marijuana use and psychosocial variables in living kidney donor candidates.

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We investigate whether marijuana use in living kidney donor candidates is associated with psychosocial risk factors that place donors at higher risk for adverse outcomes and the unique associations between marijuana use and donor candidacy.


Medical records of 757 living kidney donor candidates were reviewed. Patients were grouped into marijuana users/abstainers; demographic, psychiatric, and substance use variables were compared. Multivariate logistic regression assessed the independent association of marijuana use on committee approval for donation.


Marijuana use was associated with lack of health insurance, legal history, lower education level, active and history of substance use disorder, active psychiatric disorder, history of multiple psychiatric diagnoses, and history of suicidality. Marijuana users were also more likely to be young, male, unmarried, and less likely to be approved for donation by the multidisciplinary selection committee. This latter association persisted in multivariate models.


This is the first study to show that marijuana use is associated with psychosocial factors that could impact behavioral adherence following kidney donation, while reducing chances of committee approval for kidney donation. Special attention to potential overlay between psychosocial risk factors and marijuana use should be considered when evaluating kidney donors, particularly in context of increasingly legal use.





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Loiselle, Marci M, Shaina Gulin, Terra Rose, Eileen Burker, Lauren Bolger and Patrick Smith (2021). The relationship between marijuana use and psychosocial variables in living kidney donor candidates. Clinical transplantation, 35(5). p. e14248. 10.1111/ctr.14248 Retrieved from

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Marci M Loiselle

Associate Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

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