Previous studies on how cannabis affects cardiovascular health have delivered mixed results. Now, from a study of over 56,000 people, researchers have found that there is little evidence to suggest that cannabis use increases one's risk of heart disease.
For the study, the researchers analyzed data from 56,742 people over the age of 18 on their cannabis use and diagnosis of cardiovascular disease via the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) database. The researchers also considered potential confounding factors, including age, gender, race/ ethnicity, income, depression, and tobacco use.
All the data was collected from random telephone surveys in 2017 from nine US states: Alaska, California, Georgia, Idaho, Minnesota, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Wyoming.
Of the whole cohort, 3,412 participants reported using cannabis. These participants were more likely to exercise regularly and be under age 65 and male. Those using cannabis were also noted as more likely to use tobacco and alcohol and were more likely to have reported issues with depression than non-users.
In the end, the researchers found that while 5.5% of participants who used cannabis also reported having heart disease, the same was true for 8.2% of non-cannabis users. From a bivariate analysis of these two factors, they even found an inverse link between cannabis use and cardiovascular disease.
However, when potential confounding factors were taken into consideration in a multivariate regression, they found that while there was a slight link between a decreased risk of heart disease and cannabis use, the statistical significance between cannabis use heart disease risk was lost.
While interesting findings, the researchers note that the self-reported nature of the study means that their results may suffer from shortcomings, such as insufficient reporting on cannabis use. Nevertheless, their research suggests that cannabis use may not increase one's risk for heart disease.