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WIRE: Marijuana use history associated with decreased in-hospital mortality

Tucson, AZ — Trauma patients who test positive for marijuana upon their admission to the intensive care unit are less likely to die during hospitalization than are age-matched controls, according to data published online ahead of print in The Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery.

A team of researchers from the University of Arizona analyzed in-hospital mortality rates over a five-year period for adults admitted into the ICU, of which 2,678 were matched (1,339: marijuana positive, 1,339: marijuana negative).

Authors concluded: “Patients with a positive marijuana screen had a lower mortality rate (5.3 percent versus 8.9 percent) 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.”

Prior studies have similarly reported greater survival rates among marijuana-positive patients hospitalized for traumatic brain injuries and heart attacks as compared to controls.

For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “How does marijuana effect outcomes after trauma in ICU patients? A propensity matched analysis,” appears in The Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery.

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