Frequent marijuana use linked to increase in heart attack and stroke risk

FILE-Recreational marijuana users are seen indulging on the first day of legalized cannabis in Chicago, Illinois, United States on January 1, 2020. (Photo by Patrick Gorski/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

New research finds that routine marijuana use may raise your risk of a heart attack and stroke.

In a report published in the American Heart Association, researchers analyzed survey data of 430,000 people between the ages of 18-74 to assess the link between marijuana use and heart disease, heart attack and stroke. 

The team used data from a Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System collected from 2016 to 2020 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

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Nearly 90% of the participants reported that they did not use cannabis, 7% said they use it less daily, and 4% were daily users. 

Results from the study revealed that cannabis use was associated with a higher risk of heart disease and stroke, and with more frequent use (more days per month), the chances of adverse outcomes were even higher.

Both daily and non-daily marijuana users had an increased risk of heart attack compared to non-users. Daily cannabis users had a 25% higher risk of heart attack compared to non-users, the study noted. 

The chances of stroke for daily marijuana users were 42% higher compared to non-users, with a lower risk among people who used cannabis less than daily. 

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Researchers explained that the use of cannabis, whether it's smoked, ingested or vaped, can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. 

Additionally, among younger adults at risk for premature cardiovascular disease (men younger than 55 years old and women younger than 65 years old), marijuana use was linked with a 36% higher chance of heart disease, heart attack and stroke.

Researchers acknowledged in their study that there were limitations, including that cardiovascular conditions and cannabis use were self-reported, and the team didn’t have health data to test participants' blood pressure.

The team concludes that there needs to be more studies that follow groups of people for a period of time to evaluate the connection between cannabis use and the results of it related to cardiovascular illnesses while considering frequent marijuana use. 

This story was reported from Washington, D.C.