Cannabis use linked to lower severity of Covid-19 symptoms

posted on 09/12/2022 12:23

  (credit: Chuck Herrera/Pixabay)

(credit: Chuck Herrera/Pixabay)

Cannabis users who have been hospitalized for Covid-19 are less likely to experience serious health consequences than patients who do not use marijuana, a new study recently published in the journal suggests. Journal of Cannabis Research.

The study aimed to assess how regular cannabis use affects the health outcomes of Covid-19-related hospitalizations. The researchers collected data from 1,831 patients who were admitted to two hospitals in the Los Angeles area, in the United States, with severe Covid-19 infections. Of this group, 69 patients said they were actively using cannabis before they became ill.

As a whole, patients who used marijuana had less serious complications and better health outcomes than patients who did not. Cannabis users scored lower on the standard NIH Covid severity scale, were less likely to be admitted to the ICU, and were less likely to need mechanical ventilation or oxygen supplementation than non-users. Active marijuana users also reported lower levels of general inflammation than other patients.

The study reported that 59% of nonusers received systemic steroids during hospitalization, but only 39% of cannabis users required such treatment. Likewise, 67% of non-users needed antibiotics, versus 49% of marijuana users. Those using cannabis also spent an average of just 4 days in the hospital, while the rest of the patients stayed in the hospital for an average of 6 days. However, although cannabis users received fewer adjunctive therapies than non-users, overall health outcomes were still much better.

“This retrospective cohort study suggests that active cannabis users hospitalized with Covid-19 had better clinical outcomes compared to non-users, including less need for ICU admission or mechanical ventilation,” the study concluded.

However, the researchers cautioned that their “results need to be interpreted with caution, given the limitations of a retrospective analysis.”

The current study cannot explain exactly why cannabis users are less likely to experience severe complications from Covid-19, but previous research may provide a clue. Several recent studies from Canada and Israel have suggested that THC, CBD, and even lesser-known cannabinoids like CBG could stop coronavirus cells from replicating or even help keep people from getting sick.

Cannabis has well-known anti-inflammatory properties, and most patients suffering from severe complications from Covid-19 show extremely elevated inflammatory markers. Doctors have tried to fight uncontrolled inflammation with pharmaceutical drugs that lessen patients’ immune symptoms, but the current study suggests that natural cannabis may have a similar effect.

Previous studies have also found that cannabis users tend to be healthier, fitter, happier and less obese than non-users. Doctors have reported that patients who are obese or in poor health are more likely to die or experience extreme health complications from Covid-19, so it is possible that the superior health of marijuana users may better protect them from serious health problems. .

About Abhishek Pratap

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