Cannabis Use Linked to Increased Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke

A large study found that cannabis use, regardless of the method (smoking, eating, or vaporizing), is linked with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, even when considering other risk factors like smoking tobacco.

Study details:

  • Participants: 430,000 adults in the US
  • Data: Self-reported survey data from 2016-2020
  • Limitations: Self-reported data, lack of long-term data, inability to measure certain health factors

Key findings:

  • Any level of cannabis use was linked to a higher risk of adverse cardiovascular outcomes, including coronary heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
  • Daily users faced a 25% and 42% higher risk of heart attack and stroke, respectively, compared to non-users.
  • The association held true even among those who never smoked tobacco, highlighting the independent risks of cannabis use.
  • Younger adults (under 55 for men and under 65 for women) at risk for heart disease showed a significant increase in combined risks (coronary heart disease, heart attack, and stroke) with cannabis use, regardless of tobacco use.
  • Even people who never smoked tobacco had an increased risk related to cannabis use.

Based on the study findings, the potential implications of cannabis use on cardiovascular health can be categorized into two main areas:

1. Public Health:

  • Increased awareness: This study adds to the growing body of evidence suggesting potential cardiovascular risks associated with cannabis use. Raising awareness among the public, policymakers, and healthcare professionals is crucial to inform informed decision-making.
  • Need for further research: The study acknowledges limitations and emphasizes the need for further research, particularly prospective cohort studies, to investigate the long-term effects of cannabis use on cardiovascular health and understand the potential underlying mechanisms.
  • Development of public health messaging: Based on the emerging body of research, public health messaging may need to be updated to include potential cardiovascular risks associated with cannabis use, alongside existing information on other health risks.

2. Healthcare:

  • Patient assessment: Healthcare professionals, including doctors and pharmacists, should consider routinely inquiring about cannabis use during patient encounters. This allows for a holistic assessment of potential risk factors and facilitates informed discussions about potential cardiovascular risks associated with cannabis use.
  • Shared decision-making conversations: Based on individual patient profiles and health risks, healthcare professionals can engage in non-judgmental conversations with patients regarding potential cardiovascular risks associated with cannabis use. These discussions should empower patients to make informed decisions about their health and explore risk-reduction strategies if applicable.
  • Risk-reduction strategies: Depending on individual circumstances and risk factors, healthcare professionals can discuss potential risk-reduction strategies with patients who choose to use cannabis. This might involve exploring alternative methods of consumption (e.g., avoiding smoking), discussing moderation, and emphasizing the importance of maintaining healthy lifestyle habits.

Symptoms of heart attack and stroke

The symptoms of a heart attack and stroke can vary, but there are common signs to be aware of:

Heart Attack Symptoms:

  • Chest pain or discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or comes and goes.
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs like breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness.

Stroke Symptoms:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg (especially on one side of the body).
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or understanding.
  • Sudden trouble seeing or blurred vision in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or coordination.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

ALSO READ: Does drinking tea increase bone density and improve osteoporosis?

Last Updated on February 28, 2024 by shalw

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