|Research: Cannabis Increase the Risk of Stroke and Heart Failure|
Legal marijuana used for medical or recreational use (Entertainment) in more than half the States in America. This study highlights how marijuana affects heart health. Whereas previous cannabis studies mostly focused on pulmonary complications and psychological abuse. The new study is just one of several illegal cannabis related to researching heart disease.
"Like all other drugs, whether they are prescribed or not is determined, we want to know the effects and side effects of this drug," said Aditi Kalla, MD, Cardiologist at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia and lead author of the study. "It's important for physicians to know this effect so that we can better educate patients, such as those who asked about the safety of marijuana or even ask for a prescription for marijuana"
This study draws data from a sample of inpatients, which includes the patient's medical records on more than 1,000 hospital or about 20 percent of America's health centers. Researchers took note of young and middle-aged patients--ages 18-55 years old-who are discharged from the hospital in 2009 and 2010, when the use of marijuana is still legal in most States.
The use of marijuana was diagnosed at about 1.5 per cent (316,000) over 20 million health records are included in the analysis. Compare the rates of cardiovascular disease in patients with patients who use marijuana. Researchers found the use of cannabis was associated with a significant increased risk for stroke, heart failure, coronary heart disease, and sudden cardiac death.
The use of cannabis is also associated with various factors known to increase the risk of cardiovascular, such as obesity, high blood pressure, smoking, and alcohol use. After researchers adjust the analysis to account for these factors, the use of cannabis are independently associated with increased 26 percent in the risk of stroke and a 10 percent increased risk of developing heart failure.
"Even when we correct the known risk factors, we still find the higher rates of stroke and heart failure in these patients, so that makes us believe that there is something going on other than just cardiovascular side effects of obesity or diet-related," said Kalla.
"More research will be needed to understand the pathophysiology behind this effect," he said. Research in cell culture suggests that heart muscle cells have receptors with contracts marijuana or the ability to squeeze, showed that the receptors may be one mechanism by which use of marijuana can affect the cardiovascular system. It is possible that other compounds can be developed to counteract the mechanisms that reduce cardiovascular risk.
Because the study was based on records of hospitals, the findings may not reflect the general population. The study was also limited the inability of researchers to take into account the quantity or frequency of cannabis use, the purpose of use (recreational or medical), or delivery mechanisms (smoking or consumption).
Kalla suggested that a growing trend towards the legalization of marijuana could mean that patients and physicians will become more comfortable talking openly about his use of marijuana, which can allow for better data collection and insights far drug effects, and side effects.