Marijuana Use Triples Death Risk from Hypertension

People who smoke marijuana have a three times greater risk of dying from hypertension

Yankey said that they found that marijuana users had a greater than three-fold risk of death from hypertension and the risk increased with each additional year of use.

Yankey is a PhD student in the School of Public Health, Georgia State University, Atlanta, US.

The researchers analyzed 1,213 people aged 20 or over who had been involved in a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Researchers studied cannabis users between 2005 and 2011, looking at how long they had used the drug for and their general health. Participants reported the age when they first tried marijuana, and this was subtracted from their current age to calculate the duration of use.

After adjustments, marijuana users had an increased risk for death from hypertension (HR = 3.42; 95% CI, 1.2-9.79) compared with nonusers.

While there is a known risk of heart disease with tobacco use, Yankey said marijuana could possibly pose a higher risk than cigarettes.

'This indicates that marijuana use may carry even heavier consequences on the cardiovascular system than that already established for cigarette smoking'.

Ms Yankey said: 'Marijuana stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, leading to increases in heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen demand. The study did not find a link between marijuana use and dying from heart diseases or strokes. However, governments globally may be making a mistake since a new research study has revealed that marijuana can increase cardiovascular risks. "However, recreational use of marijuana should be approached with caution".

People are increasingly turning to marijuana for medicinal purposes, but recreational use may cause a real medical problem. The researchers acknowledged "the number of smokers in our study was small and this needs to be examined in a larger study". There was no association between marijuana use and death from heart disease or cerebrovascular disease.

Neither cumulative lifetime nor recent use of marijuana is associated with the incidence of [cardiovascular disease].
"Based upon the findings of prior studies, the authors' interpretation with regard to the degree of this risk potential appears to be sensational, and the methods used in this particular study appear to be highly questionable".

According to Okosun, "The take-home message is that marijuana use may be. associated with cardiovascular diseases, but the verdict is really not out yet because we are still accumulating information and data".

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