A study shows that regular grass smoking doubles the risk of stroke in young people. If the drug is consumed with tobacco, the risks are even worse.
We know that marijuana use affects the brain, but more and more research is also pointing to the increased risk of cardiovascular problems. We know, for example, that smoking cannabis increases heart rate and blood pressure. At the same time, the blood has more and more trouble distributing oxygen in our body.
Marijuana and stroke risk
A recent study is added to the list. For this work, researchers at the University of Virginia focused specifically on the risk of stroke in people aged 18 to 44 years. Records of 43,860 participants were reviewed in the United States. Of this sample, 13.6% had used marijuana in the last 30 days.
After analyzing all the data, the researchers found that regular marijuana users (more than 10 joints per month) were nearly 2.5 times more likely to have a stroke than those who did not use it. And we are talking here only about people who smoke “pure joints” – in other words, without tobacco.
For those who mixed herbs and tobacco, the situation was worse. These people were nearly three times more likely to have a stroke.
“Although cannabis is not [as] harmful and addictive as other substances, we can not ignore its potential health risks,” said Tarang Parekh, lead author of the study. The details of these new findings will be presented in a few days at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association (AHA) in Philadelphia.
Mechanisms still under study
Note that this study is only an association here. It does not prove that it is exclusively drugs that have influenced the risk of stroke. Excessive consumption of alcohol, for example, may also play a role.
Mechanisms promoting stroke risk are also not well understood. But according to some researchers, marijuana use is linked to an increase in the number of clots in the blood vessels, or to a narrowing of these. These two explanations are convincing, but further studies will be necessary to better understand them.