As the coronavirus pandemic raged on, infecting millions of people across the world and taking thousands of lives each day, there were claims that cannabis use could potentially reduce the risk of contracting the virus. Looking to ascertain whether these claims were factual, researchers began looking at the relationship between cannabis and COVID-19 and found that the controversial drug could indeed reduce the risk of developing coronavirus health complications.
Researchers have now found a link between marijuana consumption and reduced coronavirus severity among patients who were hospitalized due to COVID-19 complications. They say that cannabis could potentially lower the severity of the virus and result in better health outcomes. This is despite the fact that cannabis users involved in the study were five times more likely to use tobacco compared to nonusers.
The study, which involved 1,831 hospitalized patients who had COVID-19, found that cannabis users who were admitted with the coronavirus had a reduced need for mechanical ventilation and ICU admission. It was published in the “Journal of Cannabis Research.” In the report, 4% (69) of the study participants reported using cannabis regularly, with the active cannabis users being younger, less often diabetic, and having higher tobacco smoking rates.
Researchers also found that active cannabis users had fewer inflammatory markers when they were admitted compared to COVID-19 patients who did not use cannabis. They had lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), ferritin, D-dimer and procalcitonin compared to nonusers. Furthermore, cannabis users had better health outcomes after infection compared to nonusers, ultimately exhibiting a reduced need for mechanical ventilation (6% vs. 17% in nonusers), lower ICU admission rates (12% vs. 31%) and shorter hospitalization intervals (four days vs. six days).
Study authors believe the better health outcomes associated with regular cannabis use for COVID-19 patients could be due to the medical properties of cannabinoids. Produced by cannabis plants, cannabinoids have been found to have a variety of medical benefits because of their potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.
The study said that intubation rates were 6 percentage points lower and ICU admission was 12 percentage points lower in active cannabis users. The researchers concluded that based on their study, it seemed that cannabis users who were admitted with COVID-19 had better clinical outcomes compared to nonusers.
However, the researchers acknowledged that their study had plenty of limitations because it was a retrospective analysis and encouraged interested parties to interpret the results with caution. They called for future observational and prospective studies to get a better idea of how cannabis use can affect COVID-19 patients.
More research is needed to clarify which conditions marijuana may help with so that consumers can be certain that, as they consume the products made by entities such as American Cannabis Partners either recreationally or medically, they can expect to enjoy a given set of benefits based on the compounds present in the specific product they are consuming.
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