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Marijuana a promising treatment alternative for lower urinary tract symptoms

10 Sep 2018

Regular exposure to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), an active component of cannabis, appears to have a protective effect on lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) in men, according to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

Researchers identified 3,037 men aged 20–59 years from the NHANES database, all of whom completed urinary and substance abuse questionnaires. Of the men, 477 (14.72 percent) reported regular marijuana use (smoking at least once per month), and 1,668 (54.92 percent) reported at least one urinary symptom (nocturia, hesitancy, incomplete emptying or incontinence).

Relative to nonusers, regular THC users were more likely to have a normal body mass index (42.2 percent vs 23.8 percent; p<0.0001) and less likely to have diabetes (1.8 percent vs 5.7 percent; p=0.0014). Meanwhile, men with LUTS were more likely to be obese (38.1 percent vs 27.1 percent; p<0.0001) and have diabetes (8.2 percent vs 1.6 percent; p=0.0014) compared with those who did not have the condition.

Notably, men who reported regular THC use vs nonuse were less likely to have any single urinary symptom (40.1 percent vs 57.9 percent; p<0.0001) and to exhibit LUTS. Multivariable logistic regression analysis revealed that regular THC use was strongly associated with a 45-percent lower odds of reporting LUTS (odds ratio, 0.55; 95 percent CI, 0.408–0.751; p<0.01).

Significant independent predictors of LUTS included obesity, diabetes and multiple comorbidities (p<0.0001 for all).

The present data provide insight into a possible novel alternative therapy in men with LUTS, researchers said. Further prospective randomized controlled trials are warranted to validate the findings, determine the safety profile and clarify the role of THC in LUTS treatment.
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