Marijuana Use Can Cause Cardiovascular Damage

New Study Links Cardiovascular Complications to Marijuana Use

marijuana useMarijuana use is growing in popularity, especially in the US, and several groups advocate not just medicinal research into marijuana, but also legalizing recreational use as well. Currently, two states – Colorado and Washington State – have legalized recreational use, and 21 states and Washington, DC have legalized medical marijuana.

Now, however, a French study, which was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, links cardiovascular conditions to marijuana use in young and middle-aged adults.

French researchers at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Toulouse, in Toulouse, France, found cardiovascular and vascular conditions linked to those who used marijuana in the French Addictovigilance Network (FAN) between 2006 and 2010.

“In prior research, we identified several remarkable cases of cardiovascular complications as the reasons for hospital admission of young marijuana users,” said Émilie Jouanjus, PharmD, PhD, the lead researcher. “This unexpected finding deserved to be further analyzed, especially given that the medicinal use of marijuana has become more prevalent and some governments are legalizing its use.”

Most of the reporting patients were male, and averaged 34.3 years old. Out of 1,979marijuana-related complications, 2% (about 35 cases) were cardiovascular. Of those 35 complications, 22 were related to the heart (20 of which were heart attacks), 10 were peripheral vascular complications related to the limbs, and 3 were related the brain’s arteries. The percentage of reported cases tripled between 2006 and 2010, and nine of the patients with cardiovascular complications died.

The French researchers also believe that the actual rate of marijuana complications is underreported. There are about 1.2 million regular cannabis users in France, according to the study, leading the researchers to believe that there are a larger number of complications not being detected by FAN.

“The general public thinks marijuana is harmless, but information revealing the potential health dangers of marijuana use needs to be disseminated to the public, policymakers and healthcare providers,” Jouanjus said.

Marijuana use could be particularly harmful to those with preexisting cardiovascular or vascular conditions.

“There is now compelling evidence on the growing risk of marijuana-associated adverse cardiovascular effects, especially in young people,” Jouanjus said. “It is therefore important that doctors, including cardiologists, be aware of this, and consider marijuana use as one of the potential causes in patients with cardiovascular disorders.”

“This study shows a some preliminary evidence of cardiovascular harm from marijuana but isn’t conclusive,” Dr. Allen Taylor, chief of cardiology at Georgetown University School of Medicine, told CNN in an e-mail. “The study’s limitations are important in that we can’t know how high the risk is, just that there is a signal of risk between marijuana smoking and heart troubles.”

“I’m not saying that any user of cannabis would suffer from any of these complications,” Jouanjus says. But “we do not have enough information to say that cannabis use is safe.”

If You Face Marijuana Charges, Including for Medical Marijuana Use, The Strom Law Firm Can Help

If you or a loved one have been found with medical marijuana, you could face criminal charges ranging from misdemeanor to felony, depending on how much marijuana was on your person, and what your intent was with the drug. The drug crimes attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. Do not let drug charges for medical marijuana hurt your reputation or your future aspirations. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case. Contact us today for help. 803.252.4800

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