Marijuana and Heart Attacks


Does regular pot use put you at higher risk of stroke or heart disease?

Time magazine recently reported that researchers from the University of Auckland in New Zealand found an increased risk of stroke among marijuana smokers, while research published in the American Heart Journal asserted that marijuana users who had heart attacks were no more likely to die than those who hadn’t smoked cannabis.

The stroke study was conducted on 160 patients who had suffered a stroke connected to a blood clot in the brain. These study participants agreed to have their urine tested for marijuana within 72 hours of the stroke, and the results were then compared to those from 160 controls who had not had a stroke but came to the hospital for other reasons. About 16 percent of the stroke patients showed traces of marijuana in their urine, compared to 8 percent of those in the control group, suggesting a doubling of the risk of stroke.

The heart attack study was led by Dr. Murray Mittleman of Harvard Medical School and followed nearly 4,000 heart attack survivors for up to 18 years to investigate any correlation between marijuana use and heart attack patterns. Among the participants 109 had smoked marijuana at least once in the year before they were hospitalized. During the study period 519 patients died including 22 marijuana users. While there was an apparent 29 percent increase in mortality among those who used marijuana, the result was not statistically significant and could have occurred by chance alone.

The findings seem to highlight the confused state of marijuana research. While some studies have attempted to connect cannabis use with either short- or long-term health effects, it has proved difficult to pinpoint the specific effects of marijuana, because the heaviest marijuana users often use multiple drugs. More research using sophisticated controls is necessary to truly understand the risks.

Marijuana Abuse Help at The Canyon

If you or someone you love needs treatment for marijuana or other drug addiction, call The Canyon at the toll-free number on our homepage. Someone is there to take your call 24 hours a day and answer any questions you have about treatment, financing or insurance.

Wendy Lee Nentwig

By Wendy Lee Nentwig
Guest Contributor

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