Marijuana Users at Risk of Peripheral Artery Disease, Study Shows

In Education

New research has revealed a significant correlation between marijuana use and increased peripheral artery disease (PAD) risk. While marijuana consumption has surged recently, limited scientific investigation has concentrated on its effects on the human vascular system. The latest study sheds light on the heightened vulnerability of marijuana users to PAD, highlighting the need for further examination of this relationship.

PAD is caused by plaque accumulation in arteries                                                                          

PAD, a condition caused by a build-up of plaque in arteries, results in reduced blood flow to the arms or legs. It affects 6.5 million people in the U.S. and can be fatal or debilitating if untreated. Common symptoms include coldness, weakness, numbness, or a weak pulse in the extremities. Current recommendations for preventing and managing PAD include a healthy diet, avoiding tobacco smoking, and exercising. However, as new evidence emerges about the harmful effects of marijuana, guidelines may need to include cannabis products in discussions about maintaining optimal vascular health.

Hirva Vyas, the study’s lead author from Hackensack University Medical Center, emphasizes the importance of continuous monitoring for individuals with PAD, as it is a progressive condition that significantly affects their quality of life.

Marijuana users at high risk of PAD

In a study conducted using anonymous patient data from the National Inpatient Samples (NIS) between 2016 and 2019, researchers examined the relationship between marijuana use and peripheral artery disease (PAD). Of the initial 30 million patients identified, 623,768 were classified as marijuana users. These users, with an average age of 37, were more likely to be White, and the study had an equal distribution of women and men.

The results revealed that among the participants, 2,424 were diagnosed with PAD. Marijuana users were found to have a risk of developing PAD that was over three times higher compared to non-users. However, it is noteworthy that marijuana users did not show a statistically significant increase in the risk of death or the need for vascular intervention.

According to Vyas, as marijuana use grows in the U.S., users should know about PAD signs.

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