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Smoke Is Smoke: Daily Cannabis Use May Increase Heart Attack, Stroke Risks, New Study Finds

Maureen Meehan
February 28, 2024

Smoking cannabis is linked to a higher risk of heart attack and stroke, even among those with no existing heart conditions and no history of traditional tobacco use, according to a new study published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Analyzing data from over 430,000 adults, the research found that both daily and non-daily marijuana users faced a higher risk of heart attack and stroke compared to non-users. The risk increased with the frequency of use, with daily users experiencing a 42% increased risk of stroke and a 25% increased risk of heart attack as compared to those who did not consume cannabis. The risk climbed as the number of days of use of marijuana rose.

Smoke Is Smoke

"Cannabis smoke is not all that different from tobacco smoke, except for the psychoactive drug: THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) vs. nicotine," said lead study author Abra Jeffers, a data analyst at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston who researches tobacco and smoking cessation.

"Our study shows that smoking cannabis has significant cardiovascular risks, just like smoking tobacco. This is particularly important because cannabis use is increasing, and conventional tobacco use is decreasing," Jeffers said in a statement.

Other Studies Have Found The Same

The study's findings are similar to others that found daily cannabis as well as tobacco use is linked to an increase in coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke, said Robert Page II, a professor at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

"The findings of this study have very important implications for population health and should be a call to action for all practitioners, as this study adds to the growing literature that cannabis use and cardiovascular disease may be a potentially hazardous combination," Page said.

The American Lung Association also confirmed that cannabis smoke contains many of the same toxins, irritants and carcinogens as tobacco smoke.

“This study adds to the growing evidence that cannabis use and cardiovascular disease may be a potentially hazardous combination,” said Page who stressed the research findings’ importance for public health, urging healthcare professionals to be aware of the potential risks.

Young And Old Alike

People in the survey ranged in age from 18 to 74, noted CNN, with an average age of 45. Nearly 90% of adults did not use marijuana, while more than 63% had never used tobacco. Among current marijuana users, nearly 74% reported smoking as the most common form of consumption; 4% were daily users, while 7% used less than daily. Nearly 29% of daily marijuana users and 44% of non-daily users never used tobacco cigarettes.

Photo: Benzinga Edit, Sources: Good Job and Stanimir G. Stoev by Shutterstock

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