Cannabis and Lower COVID Hospitalizations: Is There a Link? Here’s what a new study found
A new study found that “cannabis use in hospitalized patients is associated with lower severity of COVID-19.”
According to the researchers, “despite five times higher concomitant tobacco use among cannabis users compared to non-users in our study population, cannabis may actually lead to reduced disease severity and better outcomes.”
Researchers wanted to assess whether cannabis users hospitalized for COVID-19 had better outcomes compared to non-users.
The study, published in the Journal of Cannabis Research, showed that cannabis users experienced better outcomes, including less need for intensive care units or mechanical ventilation.
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“Cannabis users had significantly better outcomes compared to non-users, as reflected in lower NIH scores (5.1 versus 6.0), shorter hospital stays (4 days versus 6 days), lower ICU admission rates (12% versus 31%) and a lower need reflects mechanical ventilation (6% vs. 17%),” the study continues. “ICU admissions were 12 percentage points lower and intubation rates were 6 percentage points lower in cannabis users.”
About the study
The authors explained that “the better results could be due to the medicinal properties, including anti-inflammatory effects of some cannabinoids”.
Researchers found that the link between cannabis use and better COVID outcomes makes sense.
“Of the 1,831 COVID patients in the study, 69 patients reported active cannabis use, which accounted for only 4% of all patients,” according to the study, which was conducted at two California hospitals. “It is important to note that the differences in overall survival between cannabis users and non-users were not statistically significant.”
The method used a retrospective analysis of patient data comparing NIH-COVID-19 severity scores, supplemental oxygen needs, ICU admissions, mechanical ventilation, length of hospital stay, and in-hospital death for cannabis users and non-users comprised .
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“Given the different routes by which cannabis can be introduced into the body, our grouping of inhaled and ingested cannabis should add little variability to an already diverse cohort of cannabis users,” the study on methods of consumption explained.
“Pooling all cannabis users, regardless of administration method, gives our study more power to analyze while minimizing the risk of overfitting data.”
The study concluded that “cannabis users were more likely to have lower inflammatory markers at intake than non-users. This effect persisted throughout their hospital stay, with cannabis users continuing to have lower markers of inflammation compared to non-users.”
In addition, the researchers said, “This is the first study to look at the clinical outcomes of cannabis users hospitalized with COVID-19.”
However, the authors concluded that “further studies, including prospective analyses, will help better understand the relationship between cannabis and COVID-19 outcomes.”
This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been republished with permission.