Marijuana increases cardiovascular risks by nearly 300 percent, reveals new study

Henrietta Brewer
August 10, 2017

In addition to lifestyle management (physical activity, good nutrition, weight control), guidelines also may include the use of statins, aspirin therapy, blood pressure medications, and glucose-lowering therapies.

According to Barbara A Yankey, the lead author and a PhD student in the School of Public Health, Georgia State University, Atlanta, various steps had been taken in the U.S towards the legalisation and decriminalisation of marijuana and as a result, there might occur a considerable rise in the rates of use of recreational marijuana. Researchers examined 1,200 people for six years.

Cardiovascular diseases constitute the leading cause of death worldwide, despite majority being preventable.

"Steps are being taken towards legalisation and decriminalisation of marijuana in the USA, and rates of recreational marijuana use may increase substantially as a result", lead author Barbara Yankey, from Georgia State University said in a statement.

The study also tracked the causes of death for people who admitted to ever using marijuana.

Another longitudinal study from last year involving 1,037 individuals who were followed for 38 years came to a similar conclusion. Participants reported the age when they first tried marijuana, and this was subtracted from their current age to calculate the duration of use. Among a total of 1213 participants, 34% used neither marijuana nor cigarettes, 21% used only marijuana, 20% used marijuana and smoked cigarettes, 16% used marijuana and were past-smokers, 5% were past-smokers, and 4% only smoked cigarettes.

However, no effect of use of marijuana on deaths due to cerebrovascular disease or heart disease was found.

"We found no association between cannabis and cardiovascular risks [e.g., high blood pressure, higher cholesterol], which may appear at odds with evidence that cannabis use increases risk for cardiovascular complications", the authors wrote. They were also asked to report the age in which they first tried using marijuana.

'We found higher estimated cardiovascular risks associated with marijuana use than cigarette smoking.

Yankey pointed out that there were limitations to the way marijuana use was estimated. The question of what it does to the heart needs to be addressed as more and more people around the world use it. However, governments globally may be making a mistake since a new research study has revealed that marijuana can increase cardiovascular risks. But even those in the know, and who were not involved in the research, say this study should be noted.

The risk increases by more than one time for every year of cannabis use.

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