As the widespread usage and (some legal) acceptance of marijuana continues to grow throughout the country, so do my concerns about its dangers. In fact, according to a new study, marijuana users have a significantly higher risk of dying from hypertension than non-users. As a regular reader of my Daily Dispatch, you know the many other concerns I have about marijuana use…
First, there’s the obvious increase in fatal motor vehicle accidents. In states with legalized marijuana, driving while intoxicated and fatal motor vehicle accidents have doubled. In fact, “drugged driving” now surpasses drunk driving.
Second, studies show smoking marijuana negatively affects the brain. In fact, it causes numerous short- and long-term consequences for physical and mental health and cognitive performance. Indeed, research links regular use with a higher risk of developing anxiety or depression. One study also tied it to actual brain shrinkage and a drop in IQ.
Third, we now know smoking marijuana negatively affects the heart, which I’ll touch more upon later.
Not all herbs lower blood pressure
The new study I mentioned followed-up on 1,213 people ages 20 and older who are part of the large, ongoing National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. This survey is the single-largest prospective health study that covers virtually all aspects of health risk factors and outcomes. It’s been going on for a long time. In fact, I did several analyses using this database, which I published in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
For the latest analysis, researchers compared marijuana use to mortality data from the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics. The average period use of marijuana among habitual users was 12 years. Overall, marijuana users had a 3.4-times greater risk of dying of hypertensive disease compared to non-users. The risk increased by four percent for each year of use.
This finding makes sense, as marijuana stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, which leads to increases in heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen demand. And emergency rooms regularly report seeing cases of angina and heart attacks after marijuana use. Plus, French doctors have long reported the increased risk of heart attacks and deaths in marijuana users.
I think the peculiar way they inhale marijuana smoke causes a “valsalva” maneuver, which taxes the cardiovascular system. Not to mention the lungs. I have not seen anyone else suggest this as an explanation.
And now we have a fourth problem…
Children poisoned by marijuana smoke
States with legalized marijuana have experienced 30 percent increases in marijuana poisoning in children every year since 2005. These poisonings happen when children ingest or inhale marijuana smoke. The damage includes memory deficits, seizures, and heart attacks.
Researchers believe more children are being hospitalized due to the increased availability of marijuana products in the home. So-called “edibles” look like candy or cookies and are often colorfully packaged.
Rather ironic when you think about the proliferation of “child-proof” containers on common household products used in your kitchen, bathroom or workshop. The government mandates “idiot-proofing” on these common products, so you can’t get them open when you want to use them. But they don’t regulate the packaging of a substance like marijuana?
Have we lost all common sense?
My original home state of Massachusetts, which has more good doctors and hospitals per capita than just about any place on the planet, just legalized marijuana. I grew up in Massachusetts and recall that they used to have some common sense (except when it came to highway construction).
The Governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker, Jr., appointed a Cannabis Advisory Board when they legalized this stuff. I worked with his father Charlie Baker, Sr., when he was Undersecretary for Health and Human Services under President Reagan in Washington, D.C. So — Governor Baker knows something about public health, even if by osmosis.
One of the members of his advisory board, Dr. Susan Levy, is an outspoken critic of recreational marijuana. She’s an expert in Developmental Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital and Director of the Adolescent Substance Program. And she’s now seeing the “normalization” of this destructive behavior in adolescents.
According to Dr. Levy, children who use marijuana go on to develop serious health problems. And the science backs up her concerns…
Indeed, research links repeated use during critical windows of brain development with marked anatomic changes, poor functional outcomes, drops in IQ, and serious mental health disorders such as anxiety and paranoia. Of course, those side effects just lead to more use. (Another vicious circle brought to you by our “progressive” politically correct politicians.)
Supporters of legalized marijuana seem to repeat the mantra that the drug is “beneficial” and causes “no harm” to one’s health.
How is that statement even remotely true? Science now links marijuana to increases in motor vehicle fatalities, harm to brain function, increases in cardiovascular diseases — and now increases in death from hypertension and childhood poisonings.
That list doesn’t even begin to tell the whole story when you also consider the increases in mental illness and the short- and long-term cognitive deficits. And what about the damage to the lungs caused by habitual inhalation of smoke from burning plant leaves?!
Of course, the other argument I hear thrown around about marijuana use involves pain management. Proponents say marijuana is a good alternative to opioids, as we now face a national crisis. Guess what? There are at least a half-dozen other herbs which have the same pain-relieving plant constituents as marijuana but without the intoxication, which I ‘lll touch on in a moment.
Mainstream medicine seems to think the solution to the opioid crisis is to find other replacement drugs. Tragically, I haven’t heard anyone publicly call for the safe and effective non-drug alternatives that they keep hidden in plain sight. (If anyone has heard any politician call for non-drug alternatives, please let me know.) I’ll address this question further in an upcoming November Daily Dispatch.
I have recently published a medical textbook called Common Pain Conditions: A Clinical Guide to Natural Treatment, with Elsevier Health Sciences (2017). It provides thousands of scientific references for dozens of safe and effective pain treatments that don’t involve using any drug.
P.S. Tune back into tomorrow’s Daily Dispatch for a full list of herbs shown to help reduce blood pressure — not raise it! And stay tuned in to the Daily Dispatch… this is one of the many topics I cover in depth in my new protocol titled, Dr. Micozzi’s Heart Attack Prevention and Repair Protocol. We’re putting the finishing touches on it now!
“Effect of marijuana use on cardiovascular and cerebrovascular mortality: A study using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey linked mortality file,” European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, August 10, 2017; 0(00) 1–8
“Teens and marijuana use: ‘Avoidance is best’,” Notes (www.notes.childrenshospital.org) 12/12/16