A new study asserts that adults who use marijuana might be more likely to suffer a heart attack or have a stroke.
The subjects in the study who used marijuana were 26% more likely to have had a stroke, and 10% more likely to have developed heart failure.
Lead study author Dr. Aditi Kalla, cardiology fellow at the Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, said, “Even when we corrected for known risk factors, we still found a higher rate of both stroke and heart failure in these patients. That leads us to believe that there is something else going on besides just obesity or diet-related cardiovascular side effects.”
Health records of over 20 million patients aged 18 to 55 who had been admitted at more than 1,000 hospitals in the United States were analyzed. It was unknown whether the subjects had smoked or ingested the marijuana.
As Live Science reports, Kalla was unsure why using marijuana would lead to a higher risk of heart failure, but pointed out that previous research has suggested that heart muscle cells have certain receptors that can be damaged by marijuana, thus inhibiting the heart’s ability to contract.
Kalla added that previous research argued that using marijuana could lead to blood clots, leading to strokes.
Kalla was supported by Dr. Andrew Rogove, director of stroke care at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, N.Y., who stated that the new study “suggests that marijuana may not be as safe as proponents for its legalization claim.” Dr. Shazia Alam, who directs inpatient stroke services at Winthrop-University Hospital, in Mineola, N.Y., echoed, “We have been seeing increased strokes in the younger population, therefore routinely inquiring about marijuana use may become an integral part in stroke prevention.”