In this week’s cannabis news round-up, a new study reveals cannabis consumers beat COVID-19 with lower mortality and faster recovery; law enforcement made over 227,000 cannabis arrests in 2022; and the Grateful Dead and G Pen collaborate on first official cannabis vaporizer.
A recent study published in the CHEST Journal has found that cannabis consumers who contracted COVID-19 had reduced mortality and better outcomes compared to non-consumers. The study, which used the National Inpatient Sample Database, suggests that cannabis may have helped by blocking the virus from entering cells and reducing harmful inflammation.
According to the study, cannabis consumers who had contracted COVID-19 had significantly lower rates of intubation, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), acute respiratory failure (ARF), severe sepsis with multiorgan failure, in-hospital cardiac arrest and mortality compared to non-consumers. Specifically, the rates of these complications were 6.8% vs. 12% for intubation, 2.1% vs. 6% for ARDS, 25% vs. 52.9% for ARF, 5.8% vs. 12% for severe sepsis with multiorgan failure, 1.2% vs 2.7% for in-hospital cardiac arrest and 2.9% vs 13.5% for mortality.
Among the 322,214 patients in the study, 2,603 used cannabis. Cannabis users were generally younger and more likely to smoke tobacco. On the other hand, non-users had higher rates of conditions, including sleep apnea, obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.
These results match a study from May 2020 that found that cannabinoids can reduce two key proteins, ACE2 and TMPRSS2, which the coronavirus uses to infect cells. Another previous study from August 2022 showed that COVID-19 patients who used cannabis had better outcomes, including fewer ICU stays and less need for mechanical ventilation.
According to data compiled by the FBI’s Crime Data Explorer, law enforcement officials made over 227,108 arrests for cannabis-related violations in 2022. Of these arrests, 92% were for possession only—a slight increase from 2021—when the FBI reported 219,489 cannabis arrests.
However, these totals are likely underestimates, as many law enforcement agencies don’t report their data to the FBI. In 2022, 83% of agencies reported their data, representing 75% of the total US population, up from only 63% of agencies in 2021. Subsequently, it’s unclear whether the year-to-year increase in reported cannabis possession arrests is due to changes in police tactics, more agencies reporting, or both.
Cannabis arrests accounted for approximately 30% of all reported drug-related arrests in 2022. Arrests peaked in the United States in 2007, when police made over 870,000 cannabis-related arrests. At that time, just under half (48%) of all drug-related arrests in the United States were for cannabis-related violations.
“While there has clearly been a long-term decline in the total number of cannabis-related arrests nationwide, it’s discouraging that there still remain significant gaps in the available information,” said NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano. “At a time when voters and their elected officials nationwide are re-evaluating state and federal cannabis policies, it’s inconceivable that government agencies are unable to produce more explicit data on the estimated costs and scope of cannabis prohibition in America.”
He adds, “Nonetheless, even from this incomplete data set, it remains clear that cannabis seizures and prosecutions remain a primary driver of drug war enforcement in the United States. Hundreds of thousands of Americans continue to be arrested annually for these violations even though a majority of voters no longer believe that the responsible use of cannabis by adults should be a crime.”
The Grateful Dead has partnered with G Pen in a fresh collaboration to create their first official cannabis vaporizer. The Grateful Dead x G Pen Dash combines the band’s iconic imagery with Grenco Science’s transformative design and technology.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to finally bring this dream collaboration to fruition with the Grateful Dead,” said Chris Folkerts, CEO of Grenco Science. “For over ten years, we’ve been working towards this moment and it’s a true honor to create products for their devoted fans.”
Grenco Science brings together the Grateful Dead’s unique artwork from 30 years of music history to offer highly sought-after collaborations in the cannabis market. The vape features the iconic Steal Your Face logo on the front and the Dancing Skeleton with the “Good Ol’ Grateful Dead” logo on the back. The Grateful Dead x G Pen Dash is the first time the band has officially introduced vaporizers in the cannabis space.