A study exploring the impact of cannabis use on the risk of cardiovascular disease concluded that there is no association between the two.
According to the research published in the scientific journal Cureus, cannabis is not linked to a heightened risk of heart disease.
Based on a cohort of almost 57,000 participants, the analysis found no relationship between “exposure” to cannabis and occurrence of the disease which affects 7.6 million people in the UK (British Heart Foundation).
In fact, the paper revealed that there was a decrease in the prevalence of cardiovascular events with cannabis use, however the authors stressed that this was not “statistically significant”.
The authors of the paper concluded: “Our study found that there is no link to marijuana use and an increase in cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, there may be a link between marijuana use and lowered risk of cardiovascular disease, but the data was not statistically significant when adjusting for confounding variables.
“This study does, however, implicate the need for future studies with other methods and/or larger sample sizes to provide more insight into this potential association.”
Literature reviews have stated that there is insufficient data to make strong conclusions regarding the effects of cannabis use on the risk of cardiovascular disease.
As use of cannabis becomes more widespread, both medicinally and recreationally, the researchers identified a need to assess any potential impact on heart disease, especially as previous studies have shown effects of the drug on blood pressure, heart function and sympathetic drive (increased heart rate, increased respiration, increased blood pressure and other symptoms).
The findings of the study are in line with a number of other published papers which show no independent link between cardiovascular disease and cannabis use.
However, other research papers disagree. Observational studies have linked cannabis consumption to higher risk of heart attack and heart failure. One such study cited by the American Heart Association in a scientific statement published last year reported that six percent of participants under the age of 50 who suffered from a heart attack consumed cannabis.
As with many areas of cannabis research, scientists say more research is needed to understand the relationship between cannabis, specifically THC, and heart conditions, and how different administration methods may impact cannabis users’ risk of cardiovascular disease.
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