• Canadian researchers looked at 60,000 people, half with cannabis use disorder 
  • This group was up to 60 more likely to suffer cardiovascular disease event
  • READ MORE: Study finds ‘promising results’ for pill for cannabis use disorder

Marijuana dependence and addiction significantly increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Canadian researchers found people with cannabis use disorder – those who are unable to stop using the drug – have up to a 60 percent higher risk of a heart attack or stroke than those who do not.

The exact reason why is not fully understood, but it is thought to be due to the activation of the endocannabinoid system, a network of receptors in the body that respond to compounds in cannabis. 

When cannabinoids — the active ingredient in cannabis — enter your system, they trigger effects like an increased heart rate and constricted blood vessels, which raise the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

The research joins mounting evidence of the harms of regularly smoking weed. 

Meanwhile, marijuana use has reached record highs in young adults. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found one in three high schoolers are drug users, with one in six regularly using marijuana.

And 35 million Americans reported taking the drug in some form last year.

Dr Anees Bahji, lead author of the study and assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Calgary in Canada, said: ‘Our study doesn’t provide enough information to say that cannabis use disorder causes adverse cardiovascular disease events, but we can go so far as to say that Canadians with cannabis use disorder appear to have a much higher risk of cardiovascular disease than people without the disorder.’

The research joins mounting evidence of the harms of regularly smoking weed

The research joins mounting evidence of the harms of regularly smoking weed

Marijuana can be used recreationally in 22 US states

Marijuana can be used recreationally in 22 US states

The researchers used five Canadian health databases to track nearly 60,000 participants between January 2012 and December 2019. 

Half of the participants had a cannabis use disorder and half did not. Those who had had a cardiovascular disease event before the study timeframe were excluded. 

Cannabis use disorder is loosely defined as people who smoke marijuana every day and cannot stop using the drug even though it is causing health and social issues, such as affecting their work and relationships.

It affects up to 30 percent of weed users, the CDC reports.

In the study, researchers compared people who had been diagnosed with cannabis use disorder with people who had not.

They did not quantify the amount of weed each participant had been smoking. 

During the study period, 721 (2.4 percent) of people in the cannabis use disorder group suffered a cardiovascular disease event for the first time, such as a heart attack or stroke, compared to 458 (1.5 percent) of people in the group who did not abuse the drug.

Adults with cannabis use disorder had a roughly 60 percent higher risk of experiencing heart attacks and strokes than those without the disorder.

In the group of people with cannabis use disorder, those who had no other substance use or mental disorders, no prescriptions, and fewer than five visits to health services in the last six months had an even higher risk of a first-time cardiovascular disease event — approximately 1.4 times higher than for the rest of the cannabis-use-disorder group. 

The researchers theorized this could be because those people thought they were healthy, and may not have acted on or noticed the warning signs of an imminent heart attack, stroke, or other major cardiovascular event.

A separate study estimated that people who use cannabis have a 10 percent chance of becoming addicted, and the likelihood of developing cannabis use disorder is higher in people who started using it in adolescence.

The recent study was published Thursday in the journal Addiction.

Post source: Daily mail

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