hero image

Individuals with a strong dependence on marijuana face a substantially increased risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke when compared to those with no such addiction, according to Canadian researchers. Their study revealed a 60% higher likelihood of encountering a first heart attack, cardiac dysrhythmia or stroke among individuals with cannabis use disorder.

Cannabis use increases heart disease risk

University of Calgary researchers and other colleagues conducted a study involving approximately 60,000 patients from Canadian health databases. Around 50% of the patients had cannabis use disorder. The study spanned from January 2012 to December 2019 and excluded individuals with prior heart problems.

In a study, it was found that 2.4% (721 individuals) with cannabis use disorder experienced their first-ever cardiovascular disease event. In contrast, only 1.5% (458 individuals) in the non-marijuana cohort had a similar heart issue, including heart attacks, cardiac dysrhythmias, strokes, and peripheral vascular disease, which blocks blood flow to the limbs.

As researchers focus their studies and discussion of the potential health effects of marijuana use, the recent study reveals that even individuals typically considered in good health may face risks associated with excessive marijuana consumption. Individuals devoid of pre-existing medical ailments, not reliant on prescription medications, and with a record of less than five medical visits in the preceding six months, displayed an elevated propensity for encountering heart-related issues. Surprisingly, their risk was amplified by a factor of 1.4 compared to their counterparts within the cannabis use disorder category.

Cannabis users likely to overlook cardiovascular disease risk

The authors of the study contend that individuals who use cannabis recreationally and are generally in good health tend to underestimate their cardiovascular fitness. As a result, their overall risk of experiencing cardiovascular events such as heart attacks or strokes may be elevated since they may overlook warning signals.

Dr. Anees Bahji, the principal investigator of the study, said that while the research does not establish a direct causative link between cannabis use disorder and adverse cardiovascular events, it does indicate a significant association between cannabis use disorder and an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease in Canadian individuals compared to those without the disorder.