Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, more people than ever have started using marijuana to grapple with increased anxiety, stress, pain, or insomnia.
But the science tells us this newly popular habit may SABOTAGE your health…not improve it… depending upon how you approach it. (My warning relates to the particular danger of smoking this “remedy”.)
In fact, according to a new study, even young, casual users increase their risk of suffering a heart attack by a staggering percentage compared to non-users.
Let’s jump right in…
Regular marijuana users more than DOUBLE their heart attack risk
For this new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, researchers looked at the link between marijuana use and heart attacks in young Americans between the ages of 18 and 44 years. (Marijuana use for this group included smoking, vaping, and eating edibles.)
It turns out, 1.3 percent of marijuana users suffered a heart attack during the study period. By comparison, 0.8 percent of non-users suffered one.
Now, I know those findings might not stand out to you at first glance. And in an interview, one skeptical professor of psychology claimed the “absolute risk” difference between the two groups was just 0.5 percent.
But what was that guy smoking? And—did he ever study statistics in college?
First of all, we should ideally see ZERO heart attacks in this age group. It’s just too young to suffer that kind of serious, potentially deadly event.
Second, we should NOT look at the numbers in “absolute risk” difference, as the professor did. Instead, we should look at RELATIVE RISK. (That’s the tool statisticians use to compare the risk of an event happening in two different groups of people.)
And in this study, when you look at relative risk…it means that young people who used marijuana had a 63 percent higher risk of suffering a heart attack compared to non-users.
Furthermore, the researchers found a dose-response effect, which means the more often young people used marijuana…the HIGHER their heart attack risk. In fact, in this study, people who used marijuana more than four times per month had a staggering 240 percent increased risk of suffering a heart attack compared to non-users. That’s more than double the risk of non-users!
(Note: For marijuana users, four times a month, or once a weekend, is pretty typical. That’s NOT considered heavy use.)
Long history of causing heart problems
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), there are three major reasons why marijuana could cause harm to the heart…
1.) It can stimulate your “fight-or-flight” response. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana—interacts with receptors that stimulate the sympathetic nervous system. In other words, it may trigger your body’s “fight–or–flight” stress response, which makes your heart beat too rapidly and/or irregularly (arrythmia).
2.) It raises blood pressure. We know that marijuana use constricts your blood vessels, which raises blood pressure. Of course, some people try to chalk this up to feeling paranoid after use. But rest assured, things are happening inside of your body—even when you feel “relaxed.”
In addition, as this study’s researchers noted, the marijuana sold today contains much higher levels of THC. In fact, the study’s lead researcher, Karim Lada of University of Toronto, said, “There’s been a tremendous increase in the amount of THC and as a result, a lot of the assumptions and knowledge that we thought we had about the public health implications of widespread cannabis use really don’t apply to what’s going on today.”
3.) The “Valsalva maneuver” interferes with blood supply. In my view some of smoking marijuana’s unique dangers also relate to the Valsalva maneuver…the particular way in which people inhale and deeply hold the smoke in their breath. This maneuver traps carbon dioxide and combustion products, like carbon monoxide, in the lungs and raises pressure in the chest, which interferes with blood supply to the heart.
Plus, according to the AHA, smoking marijuana increases the concentration of carbon monoxide in your blood by 500 percent. (This deadly poison has been associated with heart problems such as abnormal heart beats, chest pain, and—yes—heart attacks.)
Find safer ways to reduce stress and pain
The bottom line is this…
I completely understand why marijuana use has increased: It relates directly to the nationwide lockdowns that limited or cut off access to safe, effective, non-drug approaches to deal with stress, anxiety, and pain. All in the midst of a very real opioid drug epidemic.
But based on this new report (and many others), I urge you to consider the many science-backed ways to improve your mood, ease anxiety, and reduce pain…without relying on marijuana or any other drug.
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 book Overcoming Acute and Chronic Pain: Keys to Treatment Based on Your Emotional Type for more about using these safe, effective approaches and which ones are right for you!)
There are also many natural approaches to preventing and fighting heart disease, too. 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.