New research analyzing 20 million U.S. medical records of people aged 18 to 55 suggests that marijuana use by adults creates a much higher risk of stroke, heart failure, coronary artery disease and sudden cardiac death. The study couldn’t prove cause-and-effect, but even when researchers corrected for known risk factors, they still found a higher rate of both stroke and heart failure patients who used marijuana. They believe that there is something else going on besides just obesity or diet-related cardiovascular side effects.
Pot use was also tied to common heart disease risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure, smoking and drinking, the researchers said. After adjusting for those risk factors, the researchers concluded that marijuana use was independently associated with a 26 percent increased risk of stroke and a 10 percent increased risk of heart failure. More research will be needed to understand the reasons behind this effect.
As with any medication, patients should consult thoroughly with their physician before deciding whether the medical use of cannabis is safe and appropriate.
Adapted from American College of Cardiology, news release, March 9, 2017