Daily cannabis use increases risk of heart disease, study finds
Using marijuana every day increases the risk of developing heart disease, U.S. researchers found, adding to an increasingly complex picture about the drug’s health impact.
The results released Friday showed daily cannabis users were 34% more likely to have coronary artery disease, the most common form of heart disease, compared with those who never used the drug. The findings will be presented at a cardiology conference in March.
Previous studies suggested cannabis smokers, especially younger people, may have an elevated risk of suffering strokes or other ailments. On the other hand, its use is on the rise in many parts of the world because of its ability to relieve chronic pain and help with conditions like chemotherapy-induced nausea.
“In terms of the public health message, it shows that there are probably certain harms of cannabis use that weren’t recognized before, and people should take that into account,” said lead author Ishan Paranjpe, a resident physician at Stanford University.
More countries are easing the rules around the drug in recent years, although it’s still illegal in most of the world. Recreational use has climbed in the U.S. as it’s been legalized in many states, although it remains outlawed on the federal level.
The researchers analyzed data on how often 175,000 people used cannabis and their rates of heart disease. The study found a causal link between daily use and an increased risk of the heart condition over several years, according to a release from the American College of Cardiology.
The researchers also took into account other potential causes of cardiac complications, like using tobacco and alcohol, but didn’t distinguish between different ways of using the drug.
There was a dose-response, the researchers found. Using it monthly rather than daily didn’t lead to a significant increase in risk, they said.