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

10 August 2017, 12:54 | Todd Saunders

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Marijuana Use Linked to Increased Risk of Dying from High Blood Pressure

"Our results suggest a possible risk of hypertension mortality from marijuana use".

According to Barbara A Yankey, the lead author and a PhD student in the School of Public Health, Georgia State University, Atlanta, various steps had been taken in the U.S towards the legalisation and decriminalisation of marijuana and as a result, there might occur a considerable rise in the rates of use of recreational marijuana.

Results suggest marijuana use is more risky for heart health than cigarettes, despite certain campaigners insisting cannabis is safer than tobacco.

As the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana continue to spread across the US, so too have usage rates for the drug, especially in younger demographics. Eleven and a half years was the average duration of marijuana use.

Ms Yankey said: 'Marijuana stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, leading to increases in heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen demand.

There are obvious limitations to the study, especially the way marijuana use was calculated - it is not certain that participants used the drug continuously since they first tried it. "However, there is little research on the impact of marijuana use on cardiovascular and cerebrovascular mortality".

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Another longitudinal study from last year involving 1,037 individuals who were followed for 38 years came to a similar conclusion.

Yankey and colleagues estimated HRs for hypertension, heart disease and cerebrovascular mortality as a result of marijuana use by conducting Cox proportional hazard regression analyses. It determined that pot use was more associated with hypertension than cigarette use was.

Experts believe the findings could have particular implications in the USA, where eight states have legalized marijuana and others are thought to be moving towards it. The researchers estimated the associations of marijuana use, and duration of use, with death from hypertension, heart disease, and cerebrovascular disease, controlling for cigarette use and demographic variables including sex, age, and ethnicity.

Researchers enrolled 1,213 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey participants aged at least 20 years in a retrospective study who answered "yes" or "no" questions on the recreational use of marijuana.

A Quinnipiac University poll found 94 percent of US voters think medical marijuana should be legal. "Emergency rooms have reported cases of angina and heart attacks after marijuana use". "Needless to say, the detrimental effects of marijuana on brain function far exceed that of cigarette smoking". They focused on two main areas: lifestyle - diet, exercise, smoking, for example - and the reduction of risk factors associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar.

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