Marijuana Use Likely to Increase Risk Of Stroke And Heart Failure, New Study Claims; Details Here!

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Mar 20, 2017 01:55 PM EDT

A new study scheduled for presentation at the American College of Cardiology's 66th Annual Scientific Session suggest that marijuana use raises the risk of stroke and heart failure. The findings of the study suggest that this is the case even after accounting for demographic factors, other health conditions and lifestyle risk factors like smoking and alcohol use.

The researchers believe that marijuana (cannabis) is on track to become legal for medical or recreational use in more than half of U.S. states. However, the current study is said to sheds more light on the effects of the drug on cardiovascular health. Since previous studies on marijuana use have mostly focused on pulmonary and psychiatric complications, the instant study is reported to be one of only a few studies to look into cardiovascular outcomes.

"Like all other drugs, whether they're prescribed or not prescribed, we want to know the effects and side effects of this drug," lead author and Cardiology Fellow at the Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, Aditi Kalla, MD, said.

He continued to say that it is crucial for doctors to take note of these effects so that they can better educate patients, including those who are inquiring about the safety of cannabis or those seeking for its prescription.  According to Science Daily, the new study about marijuana use obtained its data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample including health records of patients who were admitted to more than 1,000 hospitals, which comprises of up to 20 percent of United States medical centers.

The reports also state that the study authors obtained medical records of both young and middle-aged patients, who were between the ages of 18 to 55 years.  These patients were discharged from these hospitals in 2009 and 2010, when the use of marijuana was still illegal in many states, According to MNT. The researchers noticed that marijuana use was diagnosed in about 1.5 percent, that is, 316,000 of more than 20 million health records used in the analysis.

The researchers compared the rates of cardiovascular disease in these groups of patients to the disease rates in patients who do not use marijuana. Amazingly, the researchers found that the use of marijuana was linked with a substantial increase in risk for conditions like heart failure, stroke, coronary artery disease and sudden cardiac death.

They also found that marijuana use was associated with a number of factors known to increase cardiovascular risk, including high blood pressure, obesity, smoking, and alcohol use. The researchers, after adjusting the analysis to account for these factors, found that marijuana use was independently linked with 10 percent increase in the risk of developing heart failure and a 26 percent increase in the risk of stroke.

However, the findings may not be reflective of the general population of marijuana users as the study was based on hospital discharge records. It is reported that the study was also limited by the study authors' lack of ability to account for the quantity, frequency and purpose marijuana of use or delivery mechanism.

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