Cardiovascular Death Risk Significantly Higher with Marijuana Use

11 August, 2017, 00:25 | Author: Garry Little
  • Marijuana Use Linked to Increased Risk of Dying from High Blood Pressure

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

What's unusual about the current study, Jamerson explained, is that researchers only reported adjusted data for mortality associated with hypertension, not with heart or cerebrovascular disease.

Those who answered "yes" were classified by researchers as marijuana users and duration of use was determined by subtracting age at marijuana use initiation from the age at the screen in 2005.

The results showed marijuana users had a 3.42-times higher risk of death from hypertension than non-users, and a 1.04 greater risk for each year of use.

The National Centre for Health Statistics information on marijuana use was merged with mortality data in 2011.

At the time of follow-up (19,569 person-years), 72.5% of the eligible participants were presumed to be alive. There was no association between marijuana use and death from heart disease or cerebrovascular disease. "We controlled for cigarette smoking and other relevant variables".

Yankey acknowledged the study had its limitations, including not knowing how often participants used the drug after first use, and not taking into account cardiovascular risks such as diet and exercise.

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"We are saying the primary cause is hypertension, but hypertension is an underlying cause of many chronic diseases", Yankey said. 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. For each year of marijuana use, the HR was 1.04 (95% CI, 1-1.07).

"Based upon the findings of prior studies, the [new study] authors' interpretation with regard to the degree of this risk potential appears to be sensational, and the methods used in this particular study appear to be highly questionable", Armentano said.

For more on marijuana and heart health, visit Harvard Medical School. The data also showed that the risk increases with every year of use.

Marijuana users who had died in the intervening years were three times more likely to have a cause-of-death code indicating that high blood pressure had played a part in their demise, compared with nonusers, the investigators found.

'Marijuana stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, leading to increases in heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen demand. "Emergency rooms have reported cases of angina and heart attacks after marijuana use". However, governments globally may be making a mistake since a new research study has revealed that marijuana can increase cardiovascular risks.

She added that "the detrimental effects of marijuana on brain function far exceed that of cigarette smoking", and that if people are to make informed decisions about smoking weed, they need to be in possession of the full facts. However, she pointed out that cannabis is known to affect the cardiovascular system.



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