Monday, 21 August, 2017

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

People who smoke marijuana have a three times greater risk of dying from hypertension People who smoke marijuana have a three times greater risk of dying from hypertension
Angelo Anderson | 11 August, 2017, 00:26

When compared with non-users, the users of marijuana were 3.42 times more likely to suffer hypertension as a cause of death, and with the addition of each year of use, the risk increased by 1.04 times.

Researchers enrolled 1,213 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey participants aged at least 20 years in a retrospective study who answered "yes" or "no" questions on the recreational use of marijuana. In 2005-2006, they were asked if they had ever used marijuana. Participants who used marijuana and were past-smokers consisted of 16%, and past-smokers and those who smoke only cigarettes were 5% and 4% respectively. They found death rates from high blood pressure were associated with people who reported using pot.

This data was cross referenced with mortality data from 2011 from the National Center for Health Statistics.

Marijuana users had a higher risk of dying from hypertension.

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The team of five scientists said that while studies relating to cigarette use to cardiovascular diseases are abundant, studies on marijuana use to cardiovascular are scarce.

"It could be these elevations in blood pressure are a manifestation of marijuana being laced with other things that are more cardio-stimulating", Lawrence said. "Emergency rooms have reported cases of angina and [MIs] after marijuana use". A lot of the study's takeaways also reflect already-established heart-related health risks linked to cigarette smoking. In light of the debate over whether or not to legalize marijuana, Okosun explained, "the same way we have been very prudent to look into cigarette smoking, we should also be very prudent about ascertaining whether or not patients use marijuana".

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. "If marijuana use is implicated in cardiovascular diseases and deaths, then it rests on the health community and policy makers to protect the public", she added.

Marijuana was found to be more damaging for heart health than tobacco. With the impending increase in recreational marijuana use it is important to establish whether any health benefits outweigh the potential health, social and economic risks. However, she pointed out that cannabis is known to affect the cardiovascular system. There was no association between marijuana use and death from heart disease or cerebrovascular disease.

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