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.

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