Published: Thu, August 10, 2017
Health | By Jay Jacobs

Marijuana use linked with risk of death from hypertension, study says

Marijuana use linked with risk of death from hypertension, study says

The risk increases by more than one time for every year of cannabis use.

It's critically important for people with type 2 diabetes - those who have known risk factors for heart disease and those who don't - to follow their doctors' advice for lowering their heart disease risk.

Experts argue the findings are particularly important given marijuana's legislation in eight USA states, including Alaska, California, and Colorado. Those who answered "yes" were considered marijuana users. "Based upon the findings of prior studies, the authors' interpretation with regard to the degree of this risk potential appears to be sensational, and the methods used in this particular study appear to be highly questionable".

Frequently abusing the substance also significantly reduces a user's ability to resist socially unacceptable behavior when provoked, the research adds. To get around this problem, the researchers designed a retrospective follow-up study of the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, in which participants aged 20 years and above had been asked if they had ever used marijuana. But, there is a lack in research on the effect of marijuana use on cardiovascular and cerebrovascular deaths. It also reported in the study that heart and blood pressure risks on marijuana users may be greater than the risk for cigarette smokers. However, governments globally may be making a mistake since a new research study has revealed that marijuana can increase cardiovascular risks.

Another study published earlier this year, found no connection between cardiovascular health and cannabis.

"Marijuana stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, leading to increases in heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen demand", said study co-leader Barbara Yankey of Georgia State University in Atlanta.

Combining the data on marijuana use with the National Centre for Health Statistics' mortality data in 2011, the effect of marijuana use and the duration of use on deaths due to hypertension (which included causes like hypertensive renal disease as well as primary hypertension), cerebrovascular disease and heart disease, controlling for the use of cigarette, was estimated. "Our results suggest a possible risk of hypertension mortality from marijuana use".

Neither cumulative lifetime nor recent use of marijuana is associated with the incidence of [cardiovascular disease].

The findings were published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. "We controlled for cigarette smoking and other relevant variables".

"We found higher estimated cardiovascular risks associated with marijuana use than cigarette smoking", Ms. Yankey concluded.

The study's methodology has been questioned by other cannabis researchers. Also, in order to make informed decisions, it is vital for individuals as well as the policy makers to understand the impact of marijuana on health.

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