JAN 21, 2020 7:02 AM PST

Smoking Weed May Cause Heart Problems, Study Finds

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Researchers have found that there may be a link between smoking marijuana and cardiovascular problems including stroke and arrhythmia.

Although cigarette smoking is becoming more and more unpopular in the US, leading to huge improvements in overall cardiovascular health, marijuana usage is on the rise. As marijuana is still classified as a schedule 1 drug by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, its use in research is still highly restricted, meaning that even in states where it is legalized, it is difficult to conduct randomized, clinical trials to properly understand its effects on general health. 

Thus, to decipher the drug’s effects on our health- and cardiovascular health in particular- researchers have instead analyze real-world data. For example, they are able to identify possible risk factors by comparing before-and-after health statistics in states where marijuana has been legalized for both recreational and medical usage. 

In a new research paper, scientists analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to estimate the prevalence of cardiovascular disease among those who smoke marijuana. In total, they estimated that of 89.6 million American adults who reportedly smoke the substance, 2 million of them, or 2.3%, have some form of cardiovascular disease. 

Lead author of the research, Ersilia M. DeFilippis, MD, said, “In our NHANES query, we estimated that 2 million adults with marijuana use had cardiovascular disease in 2015-2016. Since that time, additional states have passed legislation related to marijuana so its use may have increased even further. Notably, many of our cardiology patients are on medications that can interact with marijuana in unpredictable ways depending on the formulation. This highlights that we need more data so that we can better counsel providers as well as patients."

In their paper, the researchers highlighted the potential impact of smoking marijuana on cardiovascular health. For example, they note that many of the cardiotoxic chemicals found in cigarettes are also present in marijuana smoke, and that inhaling cannabis can increase heart rate and blood pressure, thus potentially triggering a heart attack. 

Muthiah Vaduganathan, an author of the paper, thus said, “Our current approach is that patients who are at high risk of cardiovascular events should be counseled to avoid or at least minimize marijuana use, and that rigorous scientific research should be conducted to further inform recommendations for patient care."

 

Sources: Medical Xpress, NBC News and CNN

 

About the Author
  • Science writer with keen interests in technology and behavioral biology. Her current focus is on the interplay between these fields to create meaningful interactions, applications and environments.
You May Also Like
APR 26, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
History of Cannabis Dependence Goes Hand in Hand with Poor Mental Health
APR 26, 2020
History of Cannabis Dependence Goes Hand in Hand with Poor Mental Health
As legal restrictions loosen around the recreational use of cannabis, researchers are becoming increasingly concerned ab ...
JUL 08, 2020
Health & Medicine
The Myths About CBD and Coronavirus
JUL 08, 2020
The Myths About CBD and Coronavirus
Research collected over the last 20 years suggests that cannabidiol – the primary cannabinoid in CBD oil – h ...
JUL 20, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
How Does Cannabis Impact Memory?
JUL 20, 2020
How Does Cannabis Impact Memory?
How exactly cannabis affects our memory- and for how long, and how significantly- is still a subject for debate. With an ...
AUG 05, 2020
Health & Medicine
Regular Female Cannabis Users Report Greater Sexual Satisfaction
AUG 05, 2020
Regular Female Cannabis Users Report Greater Sexual Satisfaction
The impact of cannabis on female sexual function has always been unclear, but a study published recently in Sexual Medic ...
AUG 22, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
People with Depression Twice as Likely to Use Cannabis
AUG 22, 2020
People with Depression Twice as Likely to Use Cannabis
Researchers from Columbia University have found that people with depression are around twice as likely to use cannabis t ...
SEP 03, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Hemp Extract Protects Bees from Poisonous Pesticides
SEP 03, 2020
Hemp Extract Protects Bees from Poisonous Pesticides
Researchers from Curie-Skłodowska University in Poland have found that an extract from hemp may help bees to survive poi ...
Loading Comments...