Studies Show That Cannabis Use Reduces Mortality Rates During Major Surgery & Hospitalization
Cannabis use has shown to be not just healing, but has numerous preventive properties as well.
A new body of evidence is growing, which shows how cannabis use has reduced in-hospital mortality for patients who undergo major surgeries and hospitalization.
A recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Tufts University in Boston, which was published in the journal Substance Abuse, revealed that a history of cannabis use has been linked to a decrease in in-hospital mortality for patients who underwent specific orthopedic surgeries.
To conduct the study, the researchers looked at 9.5 million patients, all of whom went through 5 common types of orthopedic surgery: total hip arthroplasty (THA), total shoulder arthroplasty (TSA), total knee arthroplasty (TKA), traumatic femur fracture fixation, and spinal fusion.
“In this study, marijuana use was associated with decreased mortality in patients undergoing THA, TKA, TSA, and traumatic femur fixation,” said the researchers. “Given the statistically significant associations between marijuana use and in-hospital outcomes in the orthopedic surgical population, more research is needed to elucidate the potential ramifications of these findings.”
A study published in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery last year showed that trauma patients who had tested positive for cannabis during admission to the intensive care unit (ICU) were less likely to die when they were hospitalized compared to age-matched controls.
The research was conducted by a team from the University of Arizona. They assessed in-hospitality mortality rates of adults who were admitted into the ICU over a course of 5-year period. Out of the respondents, 1,339 tested positive for cannabis use, while 1,339 tested negative.
The authors of the study concluded, “Patients with a positive marijuana screen had a lower mortality rate (5.3% versus 8.9%) compared to patients with a negative marijuana screen… Prospective studies with long-term follow up will be useful in answering many of the remaining questions surrounding the specific impact of marijuana on outcomes after trauma.”
Heart Attack Patients
Heart attack survivors who have a history of cannabis use are less likely to die during hospitalization, based on data presented during a 2016 meeting at the American College of Cardiology.
The study was carried out by University of Colorado researchers, who analyzed hospital records of more than 3,800 heart attack patients. The patients admitted to cannabis use, or tested positive for it – this data was compared to more than 1.2 million similarly matched controls.
They found that patients who tested positive for cannabis had a lower mortality risk when hospitalized, and they also had a reduced risk for intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP) placement when compared to the control data. However, the researchers are still unsure why cannabis use is tied to improved short-term survival rates. They also didn’t eliminate the possibility that this might be due to other factors.
There is still much more we need to know about how cannabis affects heart health. In some cases, cannabis use can temporarily heighten blood pressure, while other data suggests that it can protect the heart and decrease the risk from strokes and heart attacks.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients who have used cannabis were shown to have increased survival rates compared to non-cannabis users, reveals a study published in the journal The American Surgeon.
To come up with the findings, researchers from the UCLA Medical Center carried out a retrospective review spanning three years’ worth of data from brain trauma patients. They assessed data from 446 cases of similarly injured patients, and out of the patients who tested positive for cannabis, 97.6% were able to survive surgery. On the other hand, patients who tested negative for cannabis before surgery only had an 88.5% survival rate.
“Our data suggest an important link between the presence of a positive THC screen and improved survival after TBI,” write the researchers. “This finding has support in previous literature because the neuroprotective effects of cannabinoids have been implicated in a variety of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and multiple sclerosis…. With continued research, more information will be uncovered regarding the therapeutic potential of THC, and further therapeutic interventions may be established.”