Cannabis Use Lowers Injury Risk by Two-Thirds, Swiss Study Shows
Researches uncovered some surprising results in a cross-over study of accident victims in a Swiss hospital ER: Cannabis use is inversely proportional to injury risk. In other words, the more cannabis used, the less chance of accidental injury.
This same study showed a dose-dependent increase in injury risk from alcohol use. For example, alcohol use within six-hours prior to injury was associated with at mean relative risk of 3.00 compared to no alcohol use (1.00), That's an increase of 300% based on comparison of the numbers of similar injuries sustained by non-drinkers.
What researchers did not expect to see was the effect cannabis use had on accidental injuries. When they reviewed accidents treated in the emergency room, and looked at whether the patient used cannabis or not, they found that cannabis users were only one third as likely to be injured in the same circumstances as those that had no cannabis in their system. Dosage, in this case, was inversely related to risk of injury, with a mean relative risk factor of only 0.33, (or 1/3) compared with non-cannabis users.
So what does that mean? In plain terms, if you are hammering a nail your are three times more likely to hit your thumb if you take a drink within six hours of beginning your carpentry, whereas, if you light up a joint prior to your building project, you have two-thirds less chance of smashing your digit, than your completely sober buddy.
The study, published online in the January 29, 2009 edition of BMC Public Health, looked at 486 subjects (332 men and 154 women) who had received emergency room treatment for different kinds of injurious from various causes.
Researchers could supply no reasons for the results, but speculated that people might be a little more careful when they are stoned.
UPDATE: though employers justify random drug tests to ensure workplace safety, this Swiss study was actually the third one to show that cannabis use does not increase risk of injury. Prior studies with the same results include one in Missouri, and one in Buffalo, NY.