Transplantation and Marijuana Use

American Journal of Transplantation. 2016;16(1):1-2. 

In This Article


The merits and potential drawbacks associated with allowing cannabis users to be candidates for transplantation

Gabriel Danovitch, MD, medical director of the Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA), receives inquiries from all over the country asking about his institution's policy regarding transplantation for marijuana users. He tells people that he regards cannabis as a risk factor with both medical and behavioral components, and that its use is something to take into account in the overall assessment of a transplant candidate. But, he says, it should not be used alone as a contraindication to transplant.

Dr. Danovitch's stance is in line with a new California law that goes into effect in January 2016. Assembly Bill 258, the Medical Cannabis Organ Transplant Act, prohibits transplant centers from denying transplantation to medical marijuana users solely based on their use of the drug. California joins six other states with organ transplant protection for medical cannabis users: Arizona, Delaware, Illinois, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Washington.