Researchers in the United States have conducted a study suggesting that genetic vulnerability to a psychiatric syndrome called cannabis use disorder (CUD) may increase the risk of developing severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) that requires hospitalization.
Cannabis use disorder (CUD) is a moderately-heritable psychiatric syndrome that is genetically correlated with respiratory disease, says the team.
Using genome-wide associated analysis (GWAS) summary statistics, the researchers identified a partial genetic overlap between vulnerability to CUD and susceptibility to COVID-19 that requires hospitalization.
Further analysis revealed a genomic association between CUD and COVID-19 hospitalization that remained after accounting for potential confounders such as age, smoking status, cardiometabolic traits, and indicators of socioeconomic status.
“Heavy problematic cannabis use may increase chances of hospitalization due to COVID-19 respiratory complications,” write the researchers.
The team – from Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Colorado – says, “curbing excessive cannabis use may be an essential strategy in COVID-19 mitigation.”
A pre-print version of the paper is available on the medRxiv* server, while the article undergoes peer review.