Study Shows THC Helps Reduce Risk of Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms

The study suggests that regularly consuming THC may be of some help for men in avoiding LUTS.

Males with a history of using the cannabis compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) have a significantly reduced risk of experiencing lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS), according to a new study published in the journal Urology.

What is LUTS?

LUTS describes symptoms related to problems of the lower urinary tract, including the bladder, prostate, and urethra.

LUTS, which can make urination painful, can be caused by acute problems like urinary tract infections, or due to the prostate gland becoming infected and inflamed.

A growing risk in men as they get older, LUTS are broadly grouped into two types of symptoms, including:

  • Voiding or obstructive symptoms: Includes a longer than usual wait for the stream of urine to begin, a weak stream, straining to urinate, dribbling after the completion of urination, and a stream that stops and starts.
  • Storage or irritative symptoms: Includes an urgent feeling to urinate, short time periods between the need to urinate, having to wake from sleep two or more times to urinate, and an uncontrollable loss of urine.

Men are at greater risk of LUTS if they are overweight, smoke, and refrain from treating medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea. Those who develop LUTS can help reduce symptoms by reducing their intake of caffeine and alcohol, avoiding large amounts of fluid before bed, losing weight, and preventing constipation.

The Study

In the new study, researchers from the University of Chicago used results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) database between 2005 and 2008 to assess the effects of past THC use in 3,037 men between the ages of 20 and 59.

All of the men included in the study had completed both the NHANES urinary and substance abuse questionnaires. Of the 3,037 men who met the study’s inclusion criteria, 14.4 percent reported past THC use. Participants were considered regular THC users if they consumed marijuana at least once per month.

The researchers found that the men who acknowledged using marijuana regularly were nearly twice less likely to report LUTS as compared to men that did not use marijuana.

“Obesity, diabetes, and multiple co-morbidities are well-established risk factors for LUTS within the NHANES. Regular THC use, however, appears to be protective from LUTS in young community-dwelling men,” the study concluded.

marijuana benefits bladder

Previous findings have also shown cannabinoids beneficial for LUTS. In 2006, researchers found that a cannabis extract and THC each had significant effects at reducing urge incontinence episodes in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Evidence suggests that the body’s endocannabinoid system, the large regulatory system that cannabinoids like THC interact with, could play a role in the treatment efforts of LUTS.

Full text of the study, “The Association Between Tetrahydrocannabinol and Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms Utilizing the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey,” is accessible through Urology.

More Cannabis Studies

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