A preliminary study published this month in the Journal of Cannabis Research suggests that active cannabis consumers diagnosed with COVID-19 had better clinical outcomes than non-cannabis consumers, including the decreased need for ICU admission or mechanical ventilation.
However, the researchers warn that the study results “need to be interpreted with caution given the limitations of a retrospective analysis.” The study included two hospitals in the Los Angeles, California area, and out of the 1,831 covid patients in the study, just 69 patients reported active cannabis use, which was 4% of the total patients.
Active cannabis consumers were also younger, less often diabetic, and more frequently active tobacco smokers. The cannabis-consuming cohort was found to have a lower level of inflammatory markers upon hospital admission than non-consumers.
“Consistent with our understanding of how cannabis may play a role as an immunomodulator, non-cannabis users were found to have greater elevations in inflammatory biomarkers at the time of admission and during their hospital course. Thus, based on our current understanding of cannabis’ immunomodulatory effects, the link between cannabis usage and better COVID outcomes is sensible.” — “Cannabis consumption is associated with lower COVID-19 severity among hospitalized patients: a retrospective cohort analysis,” Journal of Cannabis Research, Aug. 5, 2022
The cannabis consumers in this study were younger, 62% male and 38% female, 48% were white, 15% were Black, 4% were Asian, and 28% were Latinx. Twenty percent of cannabis consumers also smoked tobacco, compared to just 4% of overall patients.
“Consistent with known trends, active cannabis users were overall younger than non-users,” the authors said. “However, when adjusting for age, these outcomes remained consistent.”
The study was conducted by researchers at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Department of Medicine Statistics Core, the Division of Infectious Diseases, and Division of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine.
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