Marijuana use not a factor in kidney transplants says new study

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The announcement could open up more to kidney donations

Many people across the U.S. welcome the opportunity to be an organ donor. However, a number are turned away if they are found to have consumed, or admit to consuming, marijuana. The same holds true for patients looking to receive an organ. A new study, however, could turn the tables on donor programs, revealing that cannabis use has no effects that could result in a failed transplant.

A team of researchers has reviewed living kidney transplants performed at a single institution from 2000 to 2016. The study involved both donors and kidney recipients who were divided into two groups – those who had consumed marijuana and those who hadn’t. The researchers then studied the outcome of each scenario using what they call a “variety of tests.”

The experiment showed that there was no negative impact on the outcome of the transplants. They also showed that there was no noticeable difference between the two groups that could somehow be attributed to marijuana. Pre- and post-op characteristics between the subjects were the same and long-term kidney function was almost identical among both groups.

The results of the tests have been published in the Clinical Kidney Journal. The evidence could potentially open up an entirely new subgroup of donors willing to help others lead longer, more productive lives. According to the study’s lead author, Duane Baldwin, “A significant shortage in available potential kidney donors exists. Our goal with this study was to start a conversation on this topic and to encourage other centers to study this important question. It is our hope that considering marijuana using donors could ultimately save lives.”