Health Care

Marijuana Use Triples Death Risk from Hypertension

Marijuana Use Triples Death Risk from Hypertension

"Steps are being taken toward legalization and decriminalization of marijuana in the United States, and rates of recreational marijuana use may increase substantially as a result", Yankey said in a press release from the European Society of Cardiology.

The study now published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology looks at the marijuana consumption of U.S. adults and whether there is a link between their use of the drug and cardiovascular mortality.

Marijuana can also function as a pain reliever that's helpful for those who can't use opioid painkillers.

Researchers explain that their "retrospective study" was utilized due to the lack of longitudinal studies on the long-term cardiovascular effects of marijuana use - something Armentano says is patently false.

This risk increases by 1.04 times for every year of cannabis use. Marijuana stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, leading to increases in heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen demand. In 2005-2006, participants were asked if they had ever used marijuana. "However, there is little research on the impact of marijuana use on cardiovascular and cerebrovascular mortality".

A total of 1,213 participants were considered for the analyses.

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

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Experts believe the findings could have particular implications in the USA, where eight states have legalized marijuana and others are thought to be moving towards it.

The authors also suggest that the cardiovascular risk linked with the use of marijuana might be higher indicating more complications than the cardiovascular risk which is already established for cigarette smoking. The study said there was no relationship between pot use and heart disease or cerebrovascular problems like strokes.

A few limitations, such as the uncertainty in whether participants used marijuana continuously since their first trial, were pointed out by Ms. Yankey. And the findings are significant since the study reveals that marijuana can lead to a three-fold risk of death from hypertension. "Emergency rooms have reported cases of angina and heart attacks after marijuana use".

No link was found between marijuana use and dying from heart disease.

"We found no association between cannabis and cardiovascular risks [e.g., high blood pressure, higher cholesterol], which may appear at odds with evidence that cannabis use increases risk for cardiovascular complications", the authors wrote. "However, the number of smokers in our study was small, and this needs to be examined in a larger study".

She noted that it was crucial to understand the effects of marijuana on health so that policy makers and individuals could make informed decisions.


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