Study: Marijuana Use Associated With Decreased Mortality Among Patients Undergoing Orthopedic Surgeries
Boston, MA: A history of marijuana use is associated with decreased in-hospital mortality among patients undergoing certain orthopedic surgeries, according to data published in the journal Substance Abuse.
Investigators from Tufts University in Boston and the University of Alabama at Birmingham assessed the relationship between marijuana use and in-hospital mortality in a cohort of 9.5 million patients who underwent five common orthopedic procedures: total hip arthroplasty (THA), total knee arthroplasty (TKA), total shoulder arthroplasty (TSA), spinal fusion, and traumatic femur fracture fixation.
"In this study, marijuana use was associated with decreased mortality in patients undergoing THA, TKA, TSA and traumatic femur fixation," researchers concluded. "Given the statistically significant associations between marijuana use and in-hospital outcomes in the orthopedic surgical population, more research is needed to elucidate the potential ramifications of these findings.
Other studies have previously reported that prior cannabis use is associated with decreased in-hospital mortality among trauma patients, heart attack patients, and those requiring surgery for traumatic brain injuries.
Full text of the study, "Marijuana use and mortality following orthopedic surgical procedures," appears in Substance Abuse.
Study: Traffic Fatalities Have Not Increased As A Consequence Of Legalization
Eugene, OR: The enactment of adult use marijuana regulations in Colorado and Washington is not independently linked to an increase in traffic fatalities, according to a study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Investigators at the University of Oregon compared traffic accident outcomes in Colorado and Washington following legalization to those in other states with similar pre-legalization economic and traffic trends. They reported, "We find that states that legalized marijuana have not experienced significantly different rates of marijuana- or alcohol-related traffic fatalities relative to their synthetic controls."
Authors concluded, "In summary, the similar trajectory of traffic fatalities in Washington and Colorado relative to their synthetic control counterparts yield little evidence that the total rate of traffic fatalities has increased significantly as a consequence of recreational marijuana legalization."
The study's findings are similar to those of a 2017 study published in The American Journal of Public Health which reported, "Three years after recreational marijuana legalization, changes in motor vehicle crash fatality rates for Washington and Colorado were not statistically different from those in similar states without recreational marijuana legalization."
A 2016 study reported that the enactment of medical cannabis legislation is associated with an immediate decline in traffic fatalities among younger drivers.
Full text of the study, "Early evidence on recreational marijuana legalization and traffic fatalities" is available from the National Bureau of Economic Research.
New Jersey: Governor Moves Forward With Medical Cannabis Access Reforms
Newark, NJ: Governor Phil Murphy announced a package of reforms this week to expand patients' access to medical cannabis products.
Among the reforms taking immediate effect: Patients diagnosed with the following conditions - anxiety, migraine, Tourette's syndrome, and chronic and/or visceral pain - are now eligible for cannabis therapy. Physicians will no longer be mandated to participate in a public registry in order to provide marijuana recommendations. Caregivers will be able to provide for more than one patient at a time. Patients biennial fees will be reduced by half.
"Beginning today, New Jersey will finally have a medicinal marijuana program that is compassionate, progressive, and patient friendly," Gov. Murphy said in a statement.
Other forthcoming changes include: raising patients' monthly possession limits from two ounces to four ounces, allowing patients to obtain edible formulations of cannabis, and eliminating the mandate that dispensary facilities must operate as non-profit entities.
In January, Gov. Murphy signed an executive order calling on the Department of Health to review the state's eight-year cannabis program - which currently enrolls fewer than 16,000 patients and licenses only five dispensing providers - and to recommend ways to increase participation among patients and physicians.
"We are changing the restrictive culture of our medical marijuana program to make it more patient-friendly," the Governor said. "Some of these changes will take time, but we are committed to getting it done for all New Jersey residents who can be helped by access to medical marijuana."
Poll: Supermajority Of Likely Voters Support Legal Medical Marijuana
Washington, DC: More than two-thirds of self-identified Democrats, Republicans, and Independents are in favor of medical cannabis legalization, according to nationwide survey data compiled by the polling firm Fabrizio, Lee, and Associates.
The poll reported that 77 percent of likely 2018 voters held favorable opinions toward marijuana medicalization. Among Democrats, 84 percent endorsed medical cannabis legalization. Among Independents, 81 percent held favorable opinions. Among Republicans, 68 percent expressed support.
The findings are similar to those of other recent national polls finding that between 75 percent and 90 percent of US adults believe that the use of cannabis as a medicine ought to be legal.