History of Cannabis Use Associated with Lower In-Hospital Mortality in COPD Patients

Bridgeport, CT: COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) patients with a history of marijuana use are less likely to suffer from pneumonia or die during hospitalization as compared to non-users, according to data published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.

A team of researchers affiliated with Yale University, the University of Arkansas, and the University of Nevada analyzed hospitalization trends in over six million COPD patients with and without a history of cannabis use.

Researchers reported that cannabis use among COPD patients was associated with lower in-hospital mortality, a decreased risk for pneumonia, and shorter lengths of hospitalization as compared to patients with no history of use. Cannabis consumers also had lower odds of sepsis and acute respiratory failure. “Our findings do not support the hypothesis that cannabis is associated with worse in-hospital outcomes in [patients with] COPD,” investigators determined. 

They concluded: “The results of our study showed that over a 10-year period, cannabis use was increasingly prevalent in patients hospitalized for COPD. … Among hospitalized patients with a diagnosis of COPD, cannabis users had statistically significant lower odds of in-hospital mortality and pneumonia compared to non-cannabis users. … Regardless of the reasons, the association of cannabis use with lower in-hospital mortality … in hospitalized patients with COPD is compelling and consistent with previously reported data in non-COPD patient populations. Additional studies are warranted to clarify the factors that underlie these observations.”

Separate observational studies have similarly reported that marijuana use is associated with a decreased risk of in-hospital mortality among patients suffering from congestive heart failurecancerpancreatitis, HIVburn-related injuriestraumatic brain injuries, and other types of severe trauma.

Full text of the study, “Prevalence and outcomes of cannabis use among chronic obstructive pulmonary disease hospitalizations: A nationwide population-based study: 2015-214,” appears in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.