By MICHAEL C. PATTERSON
A recent study published in the August 2020 edition of Journal of Surgical Research demonstrates patients who arrive into a hospital trauma center suffering from bodily trauma, and have THC detected in their blood stream upon admission to the trauma center, recover faster and have less permanent bodily damage. The link to the study is below.
The study was conducted by Dr. Sharven Taghavi and Dr. Danielle Tatum of Tulane University School of Medicine Critical Care Department Surgery Division of Trauma in New Orleans, Louisiana and Dr. Danielle Tatum, Research Director, and Saul Ramirez, Trauma Specialist at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The goal of the study was to determine the relationship between use of cannabis containing THC and recovery from bodily trauma.
The study was performed at two large trauma centers in Louisiana between 2014 and 2018. All participants were adults (18 years or older) who presented to the trauma centers. A total of 4849 patients were included in the study and 1372 (28.3 percent) of all patients tested positive for THC in their bloodstream but did not have any other prescription or illegal drugs in their system.
The patients who were THC positive were typically younger and made up of more males than females. Also, the THC positive patients were more likely injured by a penetrating mechanism than the patients who did not have THC in their system.
The results found that THC positive patients had a shorter median length of stay in the trauma center (P<0.001) and intensive care unit (P<0.001). Patients who were THC positive had a lower mortality rate (4.3 percent) compared to the patients without THC in their system (7.6 percent).
Furthermore, THC positive patients with traumatic brain injury had a shorter length of stay in the hospital (P= 0.025) and shorter ventilator days (P= 0.033) than non-THC positive patients. With patients who had an Injury Severity Score >16, THC positive patients had significantly lower ICU length of stay (P= 0.009) and lower mortality (19.3% versus 25.0%) (P= 0.038) than patients who did not have THC in their system.
This study confirms previous studies from Israel which show patients who are admitted to hospitals suffering from trauma, and have THC in their system, demonstrate a faster recovery than patients without THC in their system. This could be due to the anti-inflammatory effects of cannabis as well as its neuroprotectant qualities.
With more research on this topic, we could one day have cannabis or THC protocol within trauma centers that specify that all patients be checked upon admission for THC (or other cannabinoids) present in the body. Patients who do not have any cannabinoids in the body may be given cannabis or THC (in some form) as a course of treatment to increase recovery from trauma.
As healthcare practitioners it is important for us to be led by the science of cannabis and not by previous ideology of being something bad for the body. If we can use a natural plant to aide in recovery from extremely traumatic and life-threatening situations, we can potentially increase survival rates of trauma, increase quality of life for trauma victims, and save billions in healthcare costs from decreased use of medical services.
Michael C. Patterson, founder and CEO of U.S. Cannabis Pharmaceutical Research & Development of Melbourne, is a consultant for the development of the medical marijuana industry nationwide and in Florida. He serves as a consultant to Gerson Lehrman Group, New York and helps educate GLG partners on specific investment strategies and public policy regarding Medical Marijuana in the U.S. and Internationally. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org