Whether you smoke or eat cannabis, regular consumption could give you a heart attack, according to a new study.
People who smoke marijuana or eat weed-laced edibles daily are a third more likely to develop coronary artery disease (CAD.)
One of the largest studies of the long term toll of the drug on the heart revealed that the more you smoke the higher the risk.
CAD is the most common form of heart disease – cholesterol narrows the arteries supplying blood to the organ, causing chest pain, shortness of breath and fatigue.
It can cause heart attacks too.
The significant link remained regardless of whether users smoked tobacco, drank alcohol, had major cardiovascular risk factors, and no matter their age and sex.
Whether users took cannabis by smoking the drug, eating edibles, or other methods, also made no difference.
Marijuana has consistently ranked the most popular drug in England and Wales, with 7.4 percent 16 to 59 year-olds blazing it in the last year.
Meanwhile, decriminalisation in many states means around 18 percent of adults in the U.S. use the drug each year.
Cannabis use disorder is a recognized psychiatric disorder involving how often people use the drug and how dependent they are.
Researchers called for the public to realize that smoking weed is not risk-free.
The American College of Cardiology researchers added people should let their doctors know if they use the drug, so clinicians can start monitoring heart health.
Dr. Ishan Paranjpe, a resident physician at Stanford University and the study’s lead author, said: “We found that cannabis use is linked to CAD, and there seems to be a dose-response relationship in that more frequent cannabis use is associated with a higher risk of CAD.
“In terms of the public health message, it shows that there are probably certain harms of cannabis use that weren’t recognised before, and people should take that into account.
“From a scientific standpoint, these findings are exciting because they suggest there might be new drug targets and mechanisms we can explore to take control of this pathway going forward.”
How often 175,000 participants smoked weed was compared with the rates of CAD diagnosis in the group versus the wider US population.
A genetics-based method of identifying a causal link between using cannabis and developing was applied.
Those who smoked the drug daily were 34 percent more likely to develop CAD.
Previous studies revealed the psychoactive molecule that gets users “high”, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), acts on receptors in the central nervous system in the heart and blood vessels.
THC’s interaction with blood vessels could inflame the tubes and allow plaque to build up, leading to CAD.
Scientists would not expect the same effects using CBD (cannabidiol).
CBD is another active ingredient in hemp and weed, often extracted for products without THC.
Understanding marijuana’s risk to the heart could help clinicians develop new interventions.
Next, researchers would like to follow up the study presented at the American College of Cardiology’s Annual Scientific Session Together With the World Congress of Cardiology.
They want to investigate the health-implications of taking cannabis in different forms.
Produced in association with SWNS Talker.
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