Cannabis has been shown to have many beneficial health effects. But recent studies show daily weed use linked to heart disease. Read on to find out more about this shocking development.
Study Establishes Daily Weed Use Linked to Heart Disease
The study establishing daily weed use linked to heart disease looked at people participating in the All of Us Research Program which the National Institute of Health administers. It is designed to gather health information from 1 million or more people in the United States over time. The study has not yet been published but it has been presented at last Sunday’s American College of Cardiology annual meeting.
Prior to the daily weed use linked to heart disease study, participants were asked to partake in a survey regarding their cannabis use. They were then divided into five groups as follows:
- Daily users: 4736 people
- Weekly users: 2720 people
- Monthly users: 2075 people
- People who used once or twice in three months: 8749
- People who never used: 39,678
Research revealed that people that used cannabis every day were 34% more likely to be diagnosed with coronary heart disease as opposed to those that never used the drug. People who used weed once a month or less had no significant risk.
The results held up regardless of health conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, smoking, and alcohol. Age and gender had no effect either.
The study looking at daily weed use linked to heart disease used Mendelian randomization (MR) to determine risk. This is a method that measures gene variations known to be related to a modifiable risk factor to determine the causal influence of the risk factor.
“While other work has also linked cannabis with CAD, there are several potential co-founders that may explain this relationship. Our MR analysis suggests this relationship may be directly causal,” said lead study author Dr. Ishan Paranjpe, a resident physician at Stanford University.
The Heart and Marijuana Relationship
So what is the reason behind daily weed use linked to heart disease? According to the CDC, marijuana raises heart rate and blood pressure immediately after each use.
“Marijuana smoke also delivers many of the same substances researchers have found in tobacco smoke- these substances are harmful to the lungs and cardiovascular system,” the agency says.
“Smoking or vaping any substance, including marijuana, should be avoided due to the risk of harm to the heart, lung, and blood vessels,” stated an American Heart Association warning back in 2020.
Most studies linking marijuana to heart attacks and stroke are based on smoking weed. Marijuana delivers many of the same substances found in tobacco to the lungs and cardiovascular system. It is unclear whether irritants are due to the weed itself or the other chemicals present in the smoke.
The current study showing daily weed use linked to heart disease did not focus on the different types of weed usage and their likelihood to cause heart conditions. However, researchers recognize that THC enters the body through a different pathway and gets to the brain more quickly when it’s smoked as opposed to when it’s consumed in other ways. Therefore, they feel it may be helpful to examine the health implications of the different types of marijuana use.
Earlier AHA research has also found that heart rhythm abnormalities such as tachycardia and atrial fibrillation could occur within an hour after using weed containing THC, the cannabis constituent that causes psychoactive effects.
Other studies show smoking weed increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure in people with underlying heart disease.
Also known as CAD, coronary artery disease is caused by plaque buildup in the walls of the arteries that supply blood to the heart. The US Centers for Disease and Control Prevention says is the most common type of heart disease.
Symptoms include chest pain, weakness, dizziness, nausea, and shortness of breath. It can be an early sign of a heart attack for some people.
Concluding Statements on Daily Weed Use Linked to Heart Disease
“A growing body of evidence suggests that cannabis is not entirely without harm and may actually cause cardiovascular disease,” says Paranjpe. “Thus the decision to use cannabis must be carefully weighed against the potential for serious heart disease.”
However, the news is not all bad. The study should glean a better understanding of the molecular pathways involved in marijuana use and heart disease presenting new opportunities to prevent and treat the condition.
“From a scientific standpoint, these findings are exciting because they suggest there might be new drug targets and mechanisms we can explore to take control of this pathway going forward,” Paranjpe went on to say.