Marijuana may increase heart attack risk, study finds

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Marijuana may increase heart attack risk, study finds

Researchers analyzed data on more than 11,000 people between 40 and 69 years old who smoked marijuana at least once every month and discovered a strong link between regular use of the drug and an increased risk for heart attack.

The study, published in Cell, found that frequent THC use may trigger inflammation in blood vessels that could lead to a quick buildup of plaque in the arteries, which could then cause a heart attack.

The scientists then compared the 11,000 marijuana users to 122,000 other people in the same age bracket who did not smoke marijuana at all, and nearly 23,000 more who smoked less frequently.

The study authors controlled for age, gender, and body mass index — three factors that influence the risk of heart disease — and found that people who smoked marijuana frequently were more likely than people who did not have a first heart attack before age 50.

The findings align with other similar research. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention already warns that smoking marijuana could lead to an increased risk of heart disease, and a 2021 study identified an association between heart attacks and marijuana use in young adults.

The CDC warns, “Marijuana smoke also delivers many of the same substances researchers have found in tobacco smoke—these substances are harmful to the lungs and cardiovascular system.”

Read the full NBC News story here.


© Copyright WLL, INC. 2022. This blog provides healthcare tips and advice that you can trust about a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.

2 Comments

  1. Liz says:

    What about edibles or “gummies” and THC? Are edibles “safer” than smoking or is THC just bad overall? Seeking to stay heart-healthy.

    • Hello Liz,

      This study was only on folks who smoked marijuana. However, according to Natural Medicines (aka the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database), cannabis is “POSSIBLY UNSAFE …when used orally or inhaled in large amounts or for an extended duration. Edible cannabis products containing at least 50 mg of THC have been associated with cases of anxiety, psychosis, myocardial infarction, and ventricular arrhythmia.” They add, ” Excessive and prolonged cannabis use, either by smoking and/or oral use, can lead to cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS). This condition is characterized by severe, repeat bouts of nausea and vomiting that cannot be alleviated by conventional antiemetics. In several cases, CHS has been linked to severe complications resulting in death.”

      Also, don’t forget that cannabis use, orally or inhaled, during pregnancy is extremely unsafe for the unborn baby. Cannabis passes through the placenta and can reduce fetal growth and increase the risk for preterm birth. Cannabis use during pregnancy is also associated with placental abruption, stillbirth, childhood leukemia, fetal abnormalities, and increased need for neonatal intensive care. Prenatal cannabis use has also been associated with long-term adverse developmental effects in the offspring, such as worsened cognition, increased risk for neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder, and increased risk for psychological issues during adolescence. Cannabis use during pregnancy has been associated with an increased risk of anemia and hypertension in the mother.

      Natural Medicines concluded, “There is insufficient reliable information available about the safety of cannabis when used orally or via inhalation, short-term, and in moderate amounts.”

      Dr. Walt

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