Cannabis Use Linked to Severe COVID-19 Illness, Study Finds

Cannabis Use Linked to Severe COVID-19 Illness, Study Finds

A recent study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has found a link between cannabis use and an increased risk of severe illness related to COVID-19, reports Published on June 21 in JAMA Network Open, the study analyzed medical records of 72,501 patients treated for COVID-19 at health clinics in Missouri and Illinois.

The findings revealed that self-reported cannabis users were 80% more likely to require hospitalization for severe COVID-19 symptoms and 27% more likely to need intensive care. Researchers noted that the risk for severe COVID-19 was comparable between cannabis users and tobacco users, although tobacco users had a higher mortality rate.

Li-Shiun Chen, MD, DSc, a psychiatry professor and the study’s senior author, emphasized that despite the perception of cannabis being safer than smoking or drinking, its health effects are less researched. “Cannabis use is not harmless in the context of COVID-19,” Chen stated.

This study contrasts with earlier research, including one published in CHEST Journal that found cannabis consumers had reduced mortality and better outcomes, and another in the Journal of Cannabis Research that reported better COVID-19 outcomes for active cannabis users.

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