Researchers at Toronto-Based St. Michael’s Hospital Find Synthetic Cannabis Compounds Associated With Higher Death Rate in Older COPD Patients

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NEWS Researchers at Toronto-based St. Michael’s Hospital find synthetic cannabis compounds associated with higher death rate in older COPD patients Findings could help determine if cannabinoids should be used with older adults suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. By Angela Stelmakowich Dr. Nicholas Vozoris, a respirologist at St. Michael's Hospital of Unity Health Toronto and an associate scientist at the hospital's Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute. / Photo: Unity Health Toronto

Canadian researchers have found the oral synthetic cannabinoids nabilone and dronabinol contribute to negative respiratory health events, including death, in older people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

COPD covers two types of chronic diseases — namely emphysema chronic bronchitis — where the lung’s airways become swollen and partly blocked, reports The Lung Association. “COPD gets worse over time. It cannot be cured, but it can be treated and managed.”

Even with the medications, which contain synthetically made chemicals found in cannabis, being ingested orally, the study published in Thorax found that using cannabinoids was associated with a 64 per cent increase in death among older adults with COPD.

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