A recent study suggests that cannabis consumers hospitalized for COVID-19 have better outcomes than non-users.
The study, titled “Cannabis consumption is associated with lower COVID-19 severity among hospitalized patients: a retrospective cohort analysis,” was published Aug. 5 in the Journal of Cannabis Research.
According to the study, researchers analyzed 1,831 patients with COVID-19 across two hospitals in Southern California. “The authors’ methodology used a retrospective analysis of patient data, which included comparing NIH Covid-19 Severity Scores, the need for supplemental oxygen, intensive care unit admission, mechanical ventilation, length of hospitalization, and in-hospital death for cannabis users and non-users,” Forbes reported.
Of the 1,831 patients analyzed, only 4% (69 individuals) said they were active cannabis consumers. Researchers found that the active cannabis consumers were typically younger (under 44 years of age), frequent tobacco smokers, less diabetic, and had lower levels of inflammatory markers upon admission to the hospital compared to non-consumers, according to the study.
The study also found that the cannabis consumers had lower NIH scores, shorter hospitalization, lower ICD admission rates, and less need for ventilation than non-consumers. “Using propensity matching, differences in overall survival were not statistically significant between cannabis users and non-users, nevertheless ICU admission was 12 percentage points lower (p = 0.018) and intubation rates were 6 percentage points lower (p = 0.017) in cannabis users,” the study states.
While the study suggests cannabis consumers diagnosed with COVID-19 had shorter hospitalization rates than non-consumers, the researchers state that the results should be “interpreted with caution given the limitations of a retrospective analysis.”
They added, “Prospective and observational studies will better elucidate the effects [of] cannabis use in COVID-19 patients.”