Study: Positive Marijuana Screening Associated with Decreased Mortality in Trauma Patients Admitted to ICU

Those hospitalized for trauma who test positive for marijuana are considerably less likely to die during their stay than those who don’t, according to a new study.

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For the study, published by The Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, and published online by the National Institute of Health, researchers conducted a “5-year (2008-2012) analysis of adult trauma patients (>18 y/o) in Arizona State Trauma Registry”. They included “patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) with a positive toxicology screen for marijuana”,and excluded “patients with positive alcohol or other substance screening”. Outcome measures were “mortality, ventilator days, ICU [intensive care unit], and hospital Length of Stay (LOS)”. In total, 28,813 patients were included in the analysis.

Researchers determined that  “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”. On sub analysis of patients who received mechanical ventilation, “marijuana positive had a higher number of ventilator days (2d vs. 1d, p=0.02) and a lower mortality rate (7.3% vs. 16.1%, p<0.001) than those who were marijuana negative.”

Researchers conclude the study by stating; “A positive marijuana screen is associated with decreased mortality in adult trauma patients admitted to the ICU. This association warrants further investigation of the possible physiological effects of marijuana in trauma patients.”

The full study, conducted at the University of Arizona, can be found by clicking here.

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