FORBES – Adults who are addicted to marijuana are at a 60% higher risk of having their first heart attack, stroke, or another major cardiovascular event compared with people without cannabis use disorder.
That’s according to a new study from University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine in Canada, published in the journal Addiction.
Researchers examined the records of nearly 60,000 Canadian patients who hadn’t experienced an adverse cardiovascular event as of January 2012, and followed them through December 2019.
Half of study participants had cannabis use disorder—defined by the inability to stop using marijuana even though it causes health and social issues—and half did not.
Nearly 2.5% of people with the disorder experienced their first major cardiovascular event during those eight years, compared with just 1.5% among those without the disorder, researchers found.
The study doesn’t provide enough information to link cannabis use with adverse cardiac events, lead researcher Dr. Anees Bahji—a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the university—said in a news release.
“But we can go so far as to say that Canadians with cannabis use disorder appear to have a much higher risk of cardiovascular disease than people without the disorder,” he said.
Daily marijuana use is linked with coronary artery disease
The study’s findings come as no surprise. Those who use marijuana daily are about a third more likely to develop coronary artery disease than those who’ve never used the recreational drug, according to a study published in February.
“There are probably certain harms of cannabis use that weren’t recognized before, and people should take that into account,” Dr. Ishan Paranjpe, a physician at Stanford University and the study’s lead author, said in a news release at the time.
Those who used cannabis monthly did not show an increased risk of coronary artery disease, researchers found.
Given the risks that come with marijuana use, users should let their doctors know about their habit for the purpose of monitoring heart health, researchers said in the release.
Marijuana smoke contains “many of the same toxins, irritants, and carcinogens found in cigarette smoke, a known contributor to heart disease, as well as cancer.”
Its effects on the cardiovascular system have yet to be well studied because it’s illegal at the federal level, resulting in restrictions on researchers, according to Harvard Health Publishing …