Marijuana use could escalate your risk of stroke and heart failure, Claims AHA - Hindustan Times
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Marijuana use could escalate your risk of stroke and heart failure, Claims American Heart Association

Nov 07, 2023 11:00 AM IST

Daily marijuana use is linked to a 34% higher chance of developing heart failure, according to a study by the American Heart Association.

Marijuana use may harm the heart and brain, according to new studies by the American Heart Association.

A study of 28,535 marijuana users with cardiovascular risk factors found that 20% had a major heart or brain event, while 13.9% died or had serious complications.(AP)
A study of 28,535 marijuana users with cardiovascular risk factors found that 20% had a major heart or brain event, while 13.9% died or had serious complications.(AP)

Marijuana is a popular recreational drug, but it may not be so harmless for the cardiovascular system. Two new studies presented by the American Heart Association (AHA) at their 2023 Scientific Sessions in Philadelphia showed that regular marijuana use can increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, and heart failure, especially for older people with other health conditions.

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The first study followed 156,999 people who did not have heart failure at the start of the research. They were tracked for about four years, during which 2,958 of them developed heart failure. The researchers found that those who used marijuana daily had a 34% higher chance of developing heart failure, compared to those who never used marijuana. This risk was not affected by their age, sex at birth, or smoking history.

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The study also found that when the participants had coronary artery disease, a condition that narrows the blood vessels that supply the heart, their risk of heart failure dropped from 34% to 27%.

The lead study author, Dr. Yakubu Bene-Alhasan, a resident physician at MedStar Health in Baltimore, suggests that daily marijuana use could potentially contribute to heart failure through the development of coronary artery disease.

“Prior research shows links between marijuana use and cardiovascular diseases like coronary artery disease, heart failure and atrial fibrillation, which is known to cause heart failure,” Bene-Alhasan said.

In the second study, 28,535 marijuana users with additional cardiovascular risk factors, such as high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol, were examined. The data came from the 2019 National Inpatient Sample, which records hospitalizations in the U.S. The study focused on adults older than 65 who did not use tobacco, since tobacco and marijuana are sometimes used together.

The results showed that 20% of the marijuana users had a major heart or brain event, such as a heart attack or a stroke, while they were in the hospital. Another 13.9% had a major adverse heart and brain event, which means they died or had a serious complication. The marijuana users with cardiovascular risk factors also had more heart attacks than the non-users, 7.6% versus 6%, respectively.

Marijuana users with high blood pressure and high cholesterol were found to be at a higher risk of experiencing significant adverse events affecting the heart and brain.

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The lead study author Avilash Mondal, M.D., a resident physician at Nazareth Hospital in Philadelphia, explained that their study was unique because it excluded tobacco users and focused on cannabis use and cardiovascular outcomes.

The AHA studies are not the only ones to link marijuana use to cardiovascular problems.

A 2023 study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that daily marijuana use can increase the risk of coronary artery disease by one-third, compared to non-users.

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