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Smoking Marijuana May Increase Risk of Stroke, Arrhythmia in Young Adults, Warns American Heart Association

Frequent use of cannabis in young adults was associated with an increased risk of stroke, and people diagnosed with cannabis disorder were more likely to be hospitalized for arrhythmia (heart rhythm disorders), according to two new studies. presented at the American Heart Association 2019 Scientific Sessions.

In the first study, researchers at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, studied more than 43,000 adult participants aged 18-24. Approximately 14% of all participants reported using marijuana in the previous 30 days.

Frequent marijuana users who also smoked cigarettes or e-cigarettes were three times more likely to suffer a stroke than non-users. Those who did not use tobacco but reported cannabis use at least 10 days a month were almost two and a half times more likely to have a stroke than non-users.

Cannabis users have also been found to be more likely to drink a lot, as are current cigarette or e-cigarette users. This may have influenced your risk, although researchers have adjusted these factors in their analysis.

"Young marijuana users, especially those who use tobacco and have other risk factors for stroke, such as high blood pressure, must understand that they may increase their risk of stroke at an early age," said Tarang Parekh, lead author of the study. MBBS, MS, health policy researcher at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

"Doctors should ask patients if they use marijuana and advise them of their potential risk of stroke as part of regular medical consultations," he added.

Two new studies have found a link between frequent cannabis use and increased risk of stroke, as well as a link between cannabis use disorder and increased risk of arrhythmia. (Courtesy of the American Heart Association)

A second study looked at patients who were diagnosed with marijuana use disorder – characterized by compulsive and frequent marijuana use, similar to alcoholism – and found that people with the disorder have a 50% higher risk of being hospitalized due to arrhythmia in women. Comparison with non-commercial.

In particular, the study found that young African Americans aged 15-24 years suffering from cannabis use had the highest risk of being hospitalized for arrhythmia.

However, the demographic group most likely to be diagnosed with this disorder are white men aged 45 to 54 years. Some arrhythmias may be benign, but others may be fatal.

“The effects of cannabis use are seen in 15 minutes and last about three hours. At lower doses, it is associated with an accelerated heartbeat. At higher doses, it is linked to a very slow heartbeat, ”said Rikinkumar S. Patel, MD, M.P.H., a resident physician in the department of psychiatry at Griffin Memorial Hospital in Norman, Oklahoma.

"The risk of arrhythmia-associated cannabis use in young people is a major concern, and doctors should ask patients hospitalized with arrhythmias about using cannabis and other substances because they may be triggering their arrhythmias," Patel said.

“Because medical and recreational marijuana is legalized in many states, it is important to know the difference between therapeutic medical marijuana dosing and the consequences of marijuana abuse. We urgently need additional research to understand these issues, ”said Patel.

In both studies, the findings were merely observational and do not yet establish any causal relationship, but the authors of both studies say the observed trends are sufficient to warrant further research into the effects of overuse and abuse of cannabis.

"As these products become increasingly used across the country, obtaining clearer and scientifically accurate data will be important as we try to understand the overall health effects of cannabis," said Robert Harrington, MD, president of the American Heart Association and Arthur. L. Bloomfield Professor of Medicine and President of the Department of Medicine at Stanford University in Stanford, California.

The American Heart Association does not have an opinion on marijuana legalization, but in places where marijuana has been legalized, the association calls for a public health infrastructure that puts marijuana use in the same tobacco regulated space through efforts such as age. purchase restrictions and comprehensive smoke free air laws, among other measures.

This story was reported in Los Angeles.

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