Marijuana users are often barred from donating organs, and sometimes even prevented from receiving an organ transplant because doctors say they're worried that cannabis in the system could somehow affect whether the transplant will work. But a new study says that should no longer be a concern, at least when it comes to kidneys.
A group of researchers examined over 500 kidney transplants to determine whether or not marijuana use affected the outcome of the procedure. They looked at 294 kidney donors, including 31 who used cannabis, and 230 kidney recipients, including 27 who used cannabis. According to their results, there was no difference between kidney transplants that did not involve cannabis users and transplants involving them. Long-term success of the transplanted kidney was the same in both groups.
The researchers noted that this is a significant development. Kidney donations are in a massive shortage, and doctors have been further limiting the pool of potential transplants by turning away marijuana users. But now this study should allow doctors to accept kidneys from marijuana users, which will hopefully save lives.
“A significant shortage in available potential kidney donors exists,” Duane Baldwin, the study’s lead author, said. “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."
This study simply focused on kidney transplants, but the same policy of denying marijuana users is often in place for other organs as well. So more studies need to come out to help change the opinions of medical experts, and hopefully save even more lives.
(h/t Marijuana Moment)