Cannabis users who got COVID-19 experienced better results and lower death rates than nonusers, according to a study discussed at the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians in Honolulu.
The study, which reviewed medical records of over 320,000 people, suggested that marijuana may help prevent the virus from entering cells and reduce harmful inflammatory responses.
“Marijuana smokers had better outcomes and mortality compared to non-users,” the study authors wrote in their conclusion. “The beneficial effect of marijuana use may be attributed to its potential to inhibit viral entry into cells and prevent the release of proinflammatory cytokines, thus mitigating cytokine release syndrome.”
The study, which analyzed records from 322,214 patients, found that of those patients, 2,603 — less than 1 percent — said they consumed cannabis. Patients were grouped based on their marijuana use and matched based on such factors as age, race and health conditions. Cannabis users tended to be younger and smoked more tobacco, while non-consumers had more health issues like sleep apnea, obesity and diabetes.
Key findings include:
- Cannabis users had a 2.9% death rate compared to 13.5% for non-users.
- Cannabis users also had fewer severe COVID-19 complications.
Even after matching patients, cannabis users still showed better outcomes.
A study published in August 2022 suggested that active cannabis users hospitalized with COVID-19 had better clinical outcomes than nonusers, including a decreased need for ICU admission or mechanical ventilation.
More research is needed to understand the relationship between marijuana use and COVID-19 outcomes, noted Marijuana Moment, which first published these results.