Study Links Marijuana Use to Lower Mortality in Patients With COPD
Marijuana use may be associated with a decline in mortality rates among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to the results of a new nationwide study.
Researchers from Bridgeport Hospital/Yale New Haven Health in Connecticut found a 37.6% reduction in in-hospital mortality among COPD patients who reported using cannabis. Those patients also had an 11.8% lower risk of pneumonia.
“Interestingly, studies have shown that marijuana smoking is associated with increased lung capacity,” Yili Huang, DO, director of the Pain Management Center at Northwell Health's Phelps Hospital in Sleepy Hollow, New York, told MedPage Today. “It is possible that cannabis can initially help open airways in the lungs and have an anti-inflammatory effect. This may be part of the reasons that the COPD patients who are marijuana users have lower mortality in this study."
Further study is warranted. Previous studies have suggested cannabis use could worsen outcomes for those with COPD.