Marijuana use increases risk of heart attack and stroke STUDY

Smoking, vaping or using marijuana is linked to a significantly higher risk of heart attack and stroke, even if a person has no existing heart conditions and does not use tobacco, a new study has found.

The risk increased proportionally with the number of days of marijuana use. Photo: shutterstock (Archive)

While both daily and occasional cannabis users had an increased risk of heart attack and stroke compared to non-users, with the risk of stroke increasing by 42% , and the risk of heart attack by 25% in the case of daily users, the study showed. The risk increased proportionally with the number of days of marijuana use.

Cannabis smoke is not that different from tobacco except for the psychoactive drug: THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) versus nicotine“said the study's lead author, Abra Jeffers, a data analyst at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston who specializes in tobacco and smoking cessation research.

“Cannabis consumption is on the rise”

“Our study shows that smoking cannabis presents significant cardiovascular risks, just like in the case of tobacco. This is particularly important as cannabis use is on the rise and conventional tobacco use is on the decline“, Jeffers said in a statement.

The findings from this study are consistent with other research that has shown that daily marijuana use is linked to increased rates of coronary heart disease, heart attacks and strokes, said Robert Page II, , a professor at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Aurora, Colorado.

The findings of this study have very important implications for population health and should be a call to action for all practitioners, as this study adds to the growing body of literature that cannabis use and cardiovascular disease may be a potentially dangerous combinationPage said in a statement.

Almost 90% of adults have never used marijuana

The study, published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association, analyzed information on 430,000 adults collected from 2016 to 2020 through the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a national telephone survey conducted annually by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. and US Disease Prevention.

Survey participants ranged in age from 18 to 74, with an average age of 45. Almost 90% of adults have never used marijuana, while over 63% have never used tobacco. Among current marijuana users, nearly 74% said smoking was the most common form of use; 4% were daily users, while 7% were occasional users. Almost 29% of daily marijuana users and 44% of non-daily users have never used tobacco.

Younger adults—defined as men under 55 and women under 65—who used marijuana had a 36 percent higher risk of coronary heart disease, heart attack, and stroke, whether or not they used marijuana. and traditional tobacco products.

Previous research has already shown a link between heart disease and marijuana use.

Marijuana use is on the rise among older adults

According to a February 2023 study, it was found that daily marijuana use can increase a person's risk of coronary heart disease by a third compared to those who never use it. Coronary heart disease is caused by the buildup of plaque in the walls of the arteries that supply blood to the heart.

Two studies published in November found that older adults who do not smoke tobacco but use marijuana have a higher risk of heart attack and stroke when hospitalized, while people who use marijuana daily have a 34% higher risk of developing heart failure.

Marijuana use is on the rise among older adults. A 2020 study indicated that the number of Americans over the age of 65 who smoke or use marijuana doubled between 2015 and 2018.

The American Heart Association recommends that people refrain from smoking or inhaling any substance, including cannabis products, because of the potential harmful effects on the heart, lungs and blood vessels.

“The latest research on cannabis use indicates that smoking and inhaling cannabis increases blood concentrations of carboxyhemoglobin (carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas), (and) tar similar to the effects of inhaling a tobacco cigarette, both of which are linked to disease of the heart muscle, chest pain, heart rhythm disorders, heart attacks and other serious conditions” Page told CNN in an earlier interview.

“You have to treat this like any other risk factor (for heart disease and stroke) and really understand the risks you're taking.”he said.