United States: The outcomes associated with the COVID-19 virus could become serious with the use of Cannabis and tobacco, according to the recent research published in JAMA Network Open. According to the experts, a major rise can be seen in hospitalization and admission to the intensive care unit (ICU).

The study has also mentioned that many Americans have been considering the use of Cannabis healthier than tobacco and alcohol since Cannabis has become legal in some states of the US (for medical purposes). The experts have outlined that the drug has become a “health halo,” according to CIDRAP News.

While addressing the link between COVID-19 and consumption of Cannabis, the senior author of the study – Li-Shiun Chen, mentioned, “What we found is that cannabis use is not harmless in the context of COVID-19. People who reported yes to current cannabis use, at any frequency, were more likely to require hospitalization and intensive care than those who did not use Cannabis.”

The study was conducted on approximately 72,501 people seen for COVID-19 at centers during the initial two years of the pandemic. Out of the total, approximately 70.4 percent, i.e. 51,006 people were hospitalized and 6.5 percent visited ICU, along with this 3.7 percent lost their lives.

According to the experts, around 59.7 percent of the participants were female and remaining 40.3 percent were males. Beside this, 69.6 percent were White and 27.6 percent were Black. The researchers have also highlighted that more than half of the participants were dealing with at least one of the comorbidity, including obesity, diabetes or any heart disease.

What percentage of participants smoked Cannabis?

According to the researchers, 24.4 percent of the participants used to smoke Cannabis, and 13.4 percent were current smokers.

Cannabis not linked with COVID-19 deaths: Experts!

The researchers have clarified that Cannabis is responsible for the increased risk of hospitalization but doesn’t increase the risk of all kinds of mortalities.

Recent inquiries have elucidated that active tobacco smoking correlated with exacerbated COVID-19 outcomes. Experimental evidence underscored a significant linkage between tobacco consumption and heightened risks of hospitalization, intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, and overall mortality, even after adjusting for confounding variables.

“Predominantly, evidence endorsing the benefits of cannabis emanates from cellular or animal studies,” stated Chen. “Our study’s merit lies in its human-centric approach, leveraging comprehensive real-world healthcare data accumulated from diverse sites over an extended duration. We meticulously validated all outcomes—hospitalization, ICU stay, and mortality. This robust dataset enabled us to reaffirm the well-documented repercussions of smoking, attesting to the data’s credibility.”

With the proliferation of cannabis availability, these findings augment the scant existing research on cannabis use’s potential impacts on COVID-19 outcomes,” the authors noted. “Collectively, this study advocates for more extensive research into the connections between tobacco and cannabis use and COVID-19 outcomes.”

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First author Nicholas Griffith, MD, a medical resident at Washington University, spearheaded the study during his tenure as a medical student at the same institution. “Participants were queried with a binary question: ‘Have you used cannabis in the past year?’ This inquiry sufficed to deduce that cannabis users experience distinct healthcare trajectories. However, the study did not ascertain the quantity of Cannabis consumed or the differential effects of various consumption methods, such as smoking versus edibles.

“These remain pivotal questions warranting further exploration. I anticipate this study will catalyze additional research into the health ramifications of cannabis consumption.”

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