Marijuana shown to not be related to acute kidney injury

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Recent research contradicts studies that linked marijuana to the disease

There have been reports lately that tried to link marijuana use with acute kidney injury (AKI). However, that link now apparently seems to be false. During the ASN Kidney Week 2018, the results of a recent study were presented that showed that AKI was not seen in more cannabis users than in non-users.

According to Praveen Kumar Potukuchi, BPharm, MS, a research data analyst with the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, he and his colleagues conducted a study involving 2,416 military veterans. The group was comprised of mostly men (97%) with an average age among all subjects of 60.6 years. 46.7% of the group was black and 76.4% suffered from diabetes.

All of the participants had transitioned to dialysis between 2007 and 2014. They received urine toxicology tests that were administered up to a year prior to starting dialysis and subsequently had serial serum creatinine levels measured no more than seven days after the test.

Of the group, 76 tested positive for cannabis. Over half of the group – 58.6% – were found to have AKI, but the number was actually lower among the cannabis users by 25%.

Potukuchi points out that the numbers need to be refined and more testing is needed. However, “With the current legalization of marijuana and subsequent increase in its use, it’s important to understand the effects of its use in different scenarios better,” Potukuchi said. “The results of this study that there is no significant association between its use and AKI in patients with advanced CKD are somewhat comforting, but larger studies will be needed in order to have a definitive answer,” he added.