After the general election last fall, another round of states further loosened their marijuana laws. Yet, at the same time, we received even more disturbing news about the serious medical harms caused by smoking marijuana.
In fact, two new studies published last November by the American Heart Association (AHA) found a strong link between marijuana use and heart attack and stroke.
Let’s jump right in…
Long history of causing heart problems
As I’ve mentioned before, here in the U.S., we have very little clinical trial data on the effects of marijuana on the heart and cardiovascular system. That’s because you cannot conduct a clinical trial with volunteers using a drug that’s banned by federal law.
We do, however, have data from hospitals when users end up being admitted for medical problems. And for years, hospitals in the U.S. and Europe have reported increases in admissions involving marijuana.
The two new studies recently published by the AHA looked specifically at hospital data regarding the effect of marijuana use on heart attack and stroke risk…
In the first study, researchers identified millions of cases of patients from a national database who had:
- Been hospitalized between 2007 and 2014.
- Suffered a prior heart attack.
- Undergone percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), more commonly known as angioplasty with stent, or had received a coronary artery bypass grafts (CABG).
Then, they sorted these cases into two groups: marijuana users and non-users.
Compared to non-users, the marijuana users were:
- Had less high blood pressure.
- Had less high blood sugar.
- Had less high cholesterol.
Yet, despite being younger and having fewer cardiovascular risk factors, 26 percent more marijuana users suffered a repeat heart attack following treatment compared to non-users. Clearly, smoking marijuana significantly raised someone’s risk of suffering a serious, second heart attack, regardless of treatments.
In the second study, researchers analyzed data on patients who underwent PCI in a Michigan hospital between January 2013 and September 2016. Just under 4,000 of the men and women had smoked or vaped marijuana during the month prior to undergoing PCI. And just over 100,000 of them hadn’t used marijuana.
As in the first study, marijuana users were:
- Younger (54 years versus 66 years—on average).
- Less likely to have high blood pressure, Type II diabetes, cerebrovascular disease, or prior CABG.
- Less likely to present symptoms of cardiac chest pain (angina pectoris).
Here again, despite being younger and having fewer cardiovascular disease risk factors or other warning symptoms, the participants who used marijuana had a 50 percent higher risk of bleeding in the hospital following the PCI procedure.
Worse yet, they also had an 11–times higher risk of suffering a stroke in the hospital following the procedure!
Not to mention—marijuana smokers who somehow survive these medical procedures and leave the hospital still face ongoing risks…
We know that marijuana interferes with common medications given to heart patients following these types of procedures—including cholesterol lowering statins, anti-arrythmia, anticoagulant, and beta-blocker heart drugs.
The study authors said that both studies, “add to our accumulating knowledge of the cardiovascular risks of marijuana.” They also said that the problem has become even more common in Michigan, for example, following the state’s legalization of recreational marijuana in 2018, after their study had already concluded. And they hope that doctors who prescribe “medical” marijuana are aware of the risks.
Find safer ways to reduce stress and pain
There has been a huge uptick in marijuana use since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. And that increase relates directly to the nationwide lockdowns that limited or cut off access to safe, effective, non-drug approaches to help deal with stress, anxiety, and pain. All in the midst of a very real opioid drug epidemic.
I suggest trying out some relaxing, mind-body approaches—such as acupuncture, massage, and yoga—that support your heart health as well as your overall well-being. (See my books Your Emotional Type and Overcoming Acute and Chronic Pain: Keys to Treatment Based on Your Emotional Type for more about using these approaches.)
Plus, there are many natural approaches to preventing and fighting heart disease, too. And you can learn all about them in my Heart Attack Prevention and Repair Protocol. For more information about this innovative online learning tool, or to enroll today, click here now.
“Marijuana Use Tied to Repeat MI, Stroke After PCI.” Medscape, 11/19/20. (medscape.com/viewarticle/941313)