NOV 22, 2020 11:20 AM PST

Synthetic Cannabinoids Linked to Increased Deaths in Older Patients with COPD

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Researchers from St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto have found that two synthetic cannabinoids available on prescription are linked to an increased risk of death and hospitalization in older patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). 

For the study, the researchers looked at data from over 4,000 people with COPD in Ontario aged over 66 between 2006 and 2016. The patients were divided into two groups. One group used dronabinol or nabilone, synthetic cannabinoids with a similar chemical structure to THC often prescribed to treat COPD symptoms such as pain, difficulties falling asleep, and breathlessness. Meanwhile, the other group did not use these cannabinoids. 

In the end, the researchers found that while patients who used either cannabinoid were no more likely to be hospitalized for COPD or pneumonia than those in the other group, they were more likely to die of any cause. This was especially true for those who received high doses. All in all, these patients were 178% more likely to be hospitalized for COPD and pneumonia and 231% more likely to die of any cause. 

“Our study results do not mean that cannabinoid drugs should be never used among older adults with COPD,” says Dr. Nicholas Vozoris, lead author of the study. “Rather, our findings should be incorporated by patients and physicians into prescribing decision-making.”

While the researchers say that their findings show a negative association between older adults with COPD and synthetic cannabinoids, further research is needed to confirm their results. Nevertheless, as older adults are increasingly using cannabinoid-based drugs to treat COPD, the researchers say care should be taken when prescribing the drugs and for patients and physicians alike to have a clear understanding of their potential side effects. 

 

Sources: BMJMarijuana Business Daily

About the Author
  • Science writer with a keen interest in behavioral biology, consciousness medicine and technology. Her current focus is how the interplay of these fields can create meaningful interactions, products and environments.
You May Also Like
DEC 15, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Could Cannabis Help in the Opioid Crisis?
DEC 15, 2020
Could Cannabis Help in the Opioid Crisis?
While cannabis is increasingly available for medicinal use, doctors largely remain unable to prescribe it to their patie ...
DEC 22, 2020
Health & Medicine
Cannabis Use May Help People on an Opioid Detox Program Stay on Track
DEC 22, 2020
Cannabis Use May Help People on an Opioid Detox Program Stay on Track
New research suggests that cannabis use by people being treated for opioid addiction might improve outcomes and reduce t ...
DEC 23, 2020
Health & Medicine
Holiday Cheer: Americans Swap Alcohol for Cannabis this Christmas
DEC 23, 2020
Holiday Cheer: Americans Swap Alcohol for Cannabis this Christmas
Cannabis users polled by Glasshouse Group — a California-based cannabis and hemp company, which runs several dispe ...
MAY 02, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Medical Cannabis for Epilepsy May Be Linked to Early Puberty
MAY 02, 2021
Medical Cannabis for Epilepsy May Be Linked to Early Puberty
Current research suggests that cannabidiol (CBD) oil may be effective in managing seizures in childhood-onset epilepsy. ...
MAY 11, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Researchers Find Smoking Cannabis Impairs Vision
MAY 11, 2021
Researchers Find Smoking Cannabis Impairs Vision
Researchers from the University of Grenada in Spain have found that smoking cannabis impairs several aspects of vision i ...
MAY 12, 2021
Health & Medicine
Medical Cannabis Increases Quality of Life By Over 50 Percent: UK Study
MAY 12, 2021
Medical Cannabis Increases Quality of Life By Over 50 Percent: UK Study
Real world data from a British study involving over  900 medical cannabis patients has found high quality evidence ...
Loading Comments...