Broad Spectrum Epidemiological Contribution of Cannabis, Tobacco and Alcohol to the Teratological Profile of Northern New South Wales Dataset: Geospatial and Causal Inference Analysis



Background. Whilst cannabis commercialization is occurring rapidly guided by highly individualistic public narratives, evidence that all congenital anomalies (CA) increase alongside cannabis use in Canada, a link with 21 CA’s in Hawaii, and rising CA’s in Colorado indicate that transgenerational effects can be significant and impact public health. It was therefore important to study Northern New South Wales (NNSW) a known cannabis use centre.

Methods. Design: Cohort. 2008-2015. Setting: NNSW and Queensland (QLD), Australia. Participants. Whole populations. Exposures. Tobacco, Risky Alcohol, Annual cannabis. Source: National Drug Strategy Household Surveys 2010, 2013. Main Outcomes. CA Rates. NNSW-QLD comparisons. Geospatial and causal regression.

Results. Cardiovascular, respiratory and gastrointestinal anomalies rose with falling tobacco and alcohol but rising cannabis use rates across Queensland. Maternal age NNSW-QLD was not different (2008-2015: 4,265/22,084 v. 96,473/490,514 >35 years, Chi.Sq.=1.687, P=0.194). A higher rate of NNSW cannabis-related than cannabis-unrelated defects occurred (prevalence ratio (PR)=2.13, 95%C.I. 1.80-2.52, P=3.24x10-19). CA’s rose more potently with rising cannabis than with rising tobacco or alcohol use. Exomphalos and gastroschisis had the highest NNSW:QLD PR (6.29(2.94-13.48) and 5.85(3.54-9.67)) and attributable fraction in the exposed (84.11%(65.95-92.58%) and 82.91%(71.75-89.66%), P=2.83x10-8 and P=5.62x10-15). In multivariable geospatial models cannabis was significantly linked with cardiovascular (atrial septal defect, ventricular septal defect, tetralogy of Fallot, patent ductus arteriosus), genetic (chromosomal defects, Downs syndrome), gastrointestinal (small intestinal atresia), body wall (gastroschisis, diaphragmatic hernia) and other (hypospadias) (AVTPCDSGDH) CA’s. In linear modelling cannabis use was significantly linked with anal stenosis, congenital hydrocephalus and Turner syndrome (ACT) and was significantly linked in borderline significant models (model P1.3 ranging up to 3.8x1030 making uncontrolled confounding unlikley.

Conclusions. These results suggest that population level CA’s react more strongly to small rises in cannabis use than tobacco or alcohol; cardiovascular, chromosomal, body wall and gastrointestinal CA’s rise significantly with small increases in cannabis use; and that cannabis is a bivariate correlate of AVTPCDSGDH and ACT anomalies and is robust to adjustment for other substances.
Date made available19 Jul 2020
PublisherMendeley Data

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