May 24th, 2017 | ASAH Team
Marijuana, one of the most common illicit drugs being abused in the United States, not only causes long and short-term effects on the brain, but also has the potential to cause other types of physical ailments. However, marijuana’s action on the body and the brain is open to much debate and is in many ways a mystery. Despite its potential harmful effects, the benefits of medical marijuana have triggered another line of debate. In the light of such debates and controversies, it is essential to comprehend the impacts of marijuana on the vital organs and the body as such.
While the previous research on marijuana use had focused mostly on pulmonary and psychiatric complications, a handful of recent studies has interestingly brought up the link between marijuana use and cardiovascular outcomes. At a time when marijuana (medically known as cannabis) is being made legal in many of the states of the United States, it is very important for both physicians and patients to be aware of its harmful effects. This needs to be done to avoid serious implications and ensure widespread education to dissuade the consumption of marijuana due to its controversial legal and safe status.
One study lead by the researcher Dr. Aditi Kalla, cardiology fellow at the Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia analyzed more than 20 million U.S. medical records whereby she and her team found that marijuana use raises an adult’s risk of stroke, heart failure, coronary artery disease and sudden cardiac death. The medical records pertained to young and middle-aged patients in the age group 18 to 55 years. The researchers found that about 1.5 percent (316,000) of the participants had been using marijuana.
Although the study was not able to prove the cause and effect, the researchers still found a higher rate of both stroke and heart failure even after accounting for other risk factors, such as demographics, high blood pressure, other health conditions, lifestyle risk factors like smoking and alcohol use, etc.
After researchers adjusted the analysis to account for these factors, marijuana was independently associated with a 26 percent increase in the risk of stroke and a 10 percent increase in the risk of developing heart failure. The findings of this study were presented at the 66th Annual Scientific Session of the American College of Cardiology.
In another study led by Dr. Murray Mittleman, director, cardiovascular epidemiology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, it was found that marijuana increases the risk of having a heart attack with the first hour of the smoking by five times than that of nonsmokers. Although the risk declines to 1.7 times within the second hour and returns to an average risk after 3 hours, the increase witnessed in the risk in the first hour is quite a shocking and eye-opening revelation.
This study, published in the journal American Heart Association, was based on the interview of more than 3,880 respondents in the age group 20 to 92 who had suffered heart attacks and survived to tell the tale. Somewhere around 124 of the subjects admitted of smoking marijuana during the “hazard period,” which refers to the period before heart attack.
In fact, the magnitude of the problem could be much higher that what has been highlighted by the study. Moreover, the risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases increases with age. Though the psychoactive effects of marijuana trigger happiness, relaxation, calmness, etc., people have also admitted of feeling depression, anxious and paranoid.
Besides the above factors, other problems, such as increased heart rate, fluctuations in blood pressure and a decreased ability of the blood to carry oxygen due to marijuana use further accentuate the risk of developing cardiovascular problems. If you or someone you know is struggling with the problem of substance abuse, contact the Arizona Substance Abuse Helpline. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-857-5777 to know about the substance abuse rehab clinic in Arizona or chat online with our representatives to know about the best substance abuse treatment centers in Arizona.