Cannabis Use Could Cause Cardiovascular Health Issue, Study Shows

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A recent study suggests that normalizing marijuana use might contribute to a heart health crisis. Analyzing data from 430,000 adults, researchers reveal a strong link between cannabis use and higher risks of heart attack and stroke, independent of tobacco use and other cardiovascular factors, raising concerns about cannabis’s cardiovascular dangers.

Marijuana smoking linked to cardiovascular disease

Despite being federally illegal in the U.S., cannabis, commonly known as marijuana, has been legalized for recreational use in 24 states and Washington, D.C. According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the number of individuals aged 12 and above who used cannabis at least once in that year increased to 48.2 million from 25.8 million in 2002.

Lead study author, Dr. Abra Jeffers from Massachusetts General Hospital, highlights the lack of understanding regarding the cardiovascular risks associated with cannabis use. Jeffers explains that despite its common usage, there is little awareness of these risks among the public. While perceptions of cannabis harm are declining, previous research indicates a potential link between cannabis use and cardiovascular disease. Additionally, the predominant method of cannabis consumption, smoking, introduces additional risks due to the inhalation of particulate matter.

Daily usage of cannabis increases risk of cardiovascular diseases

Researchers examined data from 2016 to 2020 to study the connection between cannabis use and heart health. They found that all forms of cannabis use were linked to more cardiovascular problems, with increased risk based on frequency. Daily users faced a 25% higher chance of heart attack and a 42% higher risk of stroke compared to non-users. Young adults at risk for heart disease had a 36% higher likelihood of issues regardless of tobacco use.

Dr. Jeffers highlights that their study, focusing on adults who hadn’t used tobacco or e-cigarettes, found significant cardiovascular risks associated with cannabis use, akin to tobacco smoking. Their sample of adults aged 18-74, balanced in gender and racially diverse, showed that the majority didn’t use cannabis, with only four percent being daily users. Smoking was the prevalent consumption method among cannabis users, raising concerns given the increasing cannabis use alongside declining tobacco usage.

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