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Clin Kidney J. 2018 Nov 15;12(3):437-442. doi: 10.1093/ckj/sfy107. eCollection 2019 Jun.

Should donors who have used marijuana be considered candidates for living kidney donation?

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Department of Urology, Loma Linda University Health, Loma Linda, CA, USA.
Department of Transplant and Transplant Nephrology, Loma Linda University Health, Loma Linda, CA, USA.



The use of marijuana in the USA has been steadily increasing over the last 10 years. This study is the first to investigate the effect of marijuana use by live kidney donors upon outcomes in both donors and recipients.


Living kidney donor transplants performed between January 2000 and May 2016 in a single academic institution were retrospectively reviewed. Donor and recipient groups were each divided into two groups by donor marijuana usage. Outcomes in donor and recipient groups were compared using t-test, Chi-square and mixed linear analysis (P < 0.05 considered significant).


This was 294 living renal donor medical records were reviewed including 31 marijuana-using donors (MUD) and 263 non-MUDs (NMUD). It was 230 living kidney recipient records were reviewed including 27 marijuana kidney recipients (MKRs) and 203 non-MKRs (NMKR). There was no difference in donor or recipient perioperative characteristics or postoperative outcomes based upon donor marijuana use (P > 0.05 for all comparisons). There was no difference in renal function between NMUD and MUD groups and no long-term difference in kidney allograft function between NMKR and MKR groups.


Considering individuals with a history of marijuana use for living kidney donation could increase the donor pool and yield acceptable outcomes.


cannabis; living donors; nephrectomy; outcomes; renal transplantation

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