New Research Reveals Surprising Side Effects of Marijuana Use, Including Increased Risk of Heart Attack, Stroke, and Heart Failure
Three new studies link daily pot smoking to three potentially deadly conditions.
Many pot smokers maintain that marijuana is beneficial for their health. However, according to new research this may not be the case. Two unpublished studies recently presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in Philadelphia found that people who smoked marijuana – but not cigarettes – were at a greater risk of three major health issues.
"What is unique about our study is that patients who were using tobacco were excluded because cannabis and tobacco are sometimes used together, therefore, we were able to specifically examine cannabis use and cardiovascular outcomes," lead study author Dr. Avilash Mondal, a resident physician at Nazareth Hospital in Philadelphia, said in a statement.
In the first study, researchers learned that the 8,535 adults who abused weed had a 20 percent greater risk of having a major heart or brain event while hospitalized, compared to over 10 million older hospitalized adults who did not use the substance.
The second study found that risk of heart failure rose with marijuana users. Researchers followed nearly 160,000 adults with a median age of 54 for about four years. They found that daily marijuana users had a 34% increased risk of developing heart failure, compared to those who reported never using marijuana.
A third study published earlier this year also found a link between daily marijuana use and coronary artery disease risk. Those who smoked were a third more likely to suffer.
"Prior research shows links between marijuana use and cardiovascular disease like coronary artery disease, heart failure and atrial fibrillation, which is known to cause heart failure," Dr. Yakubu Bene-Alhasan, a resident physician at Medstar Health in Baltimore, lead author of the heart failure study, said in a statement "Our results should encourage more researchers to study the use of marijuana to better understand its health implications, especially on cardiovascular risk," Bene-Alhasan said.