Friday, September 22, 2023

Having Orthopedic Surgery? Cannabis Will Help

If we know patients who use cannabis are less likely to suffer from brain injury and less likely to die in the hospital, is it outlandish to forecast one day people will use cannabis as a preventative?

Although weed is still illegal in Alabama, it’s not stopping the state’s researchers from delivering good news about the herb. Scientists at the University of Alabama at Birmingham published a study showing that cannabis use was associated with decreased risk of death during medical procedures.

It is not something we are used to hearing. Cannabis users are less likely to die as a result of surgery. Really? Yes. In this case, it was an enormous body of data that was studied to come to this conclusion.

The hospital records of over 9.5 million patients were evaluated. All patients who had received one of five orthopedic surgeries over a four year period were identified as a sample. Over 26,000 of these patients were also identified as having cannabis use disorder. They became the subgroup and health outcomes were compared between the two groups.

RELATED: Disclosing Marijuana Use Before Surgery: What You Need To Know

The cannabis users were less likely to die in 4 out of 5 of the procedures. Although patients were considered to have substance use problems with the herb, it saved their lives. 

Photo by Cavan Images/Getty Images

This is not the first time marijuana has been associated as a prophylactic, protecting against death. A University of Arizona study showed that cannabis users were 40% less likely to die in ICU following trauma than non-users. In yet another study from Colorado, the data from nearly 4 millions hospital records were examined. Researchers conclude that cannabis users were less likely to die after being admitted to the hospital. This was particularly true for cancer patients. Cannabis users were also less likely to have cancer.

Unfortunately, cannabis was associated with a greater risk of stroke while in the hospital as well. That will likely be a research avenue we will hear a great deal more about in the future.

RELATED: Southern Lawmakers Still Seem Apprehensive About Marijuana

Cannabis as a preventative measure to protect the patient is not a new idea. European studies have shown that mice given a single dose of THC, just one of the many active compounds in cannabis, were protected against traumatic brain injury. 

If we know that patients who use cannabis are less likely to suffer from brain injury and less likely to die in the hospital, is it that outlandish to forecast that one day people will use cannabis as a preventative? Considering the speed at which new, positive research is being published about cannabis therapy, many things that once seemed fantastical are on the table. The little plant called a weed simply refuses to concede.


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