Los Angeles, CA: Current cannabis use is associated with decreased disease severity in patients hospitalized for COVID 19, according to data published in the Journal of Cannabis Research.
Researchers affiliated with the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles conducted a retrospective analysis of 1,831 COVID patients admitted to two medical centers in California. They reported, “Active cannabis users hospitalized with COVID 19 had better clinical outcomes compared with non-users, including decreased need for ICU admission or mechanical ventilation.” However, investigators reported no association between cannabis use and better overall survival rates.
Authors reported that the association between cannabis use and decreased symptom severity remained consistent even after researchers adjusted for potential confounders, such as age and comorbid conditions.
“To our knowledge, this study is one of the first evaluations of the effect of cannabis use on outcomes in patients hospitalized with COVID-19,” they concluded. “While previous data have determined the detrimental relationship of tobacco smoking with COVID-19, this study suggests that cannabis may actually lead to reduced disease severity and better outcomes despite a five-fold greater concomitant use of tobacco amongst cannabis users compared to non-users in our study population.”
Preclinical studies and reviews have suggested that the administration of certain cannabis compounds could potentially modulate COVID infections. However, to date, no controlled clinical trials have substantiated the theory that cannabinoids can assist in either preventing COVID infections or in mitigating symptoms of the virus. Clinical trial data published in November failed to demonstrate that the adjunctive use of CBD aided COVID patients in their recovery from the virus. A separate observational study published last year reported that COVID 19 patients with elevated rates of overall substance use were more likely to experience more adverse outcomes, including hospitalization and death.
Full text of the study, “Cannabis consumption is associated with lower COVID-19 severity among hospitalized patients: A retrospective cohort analysis,” appears in the Journal of Cannabis Research.