Marijuana And Heart Disease Risk: Peripheral Arterial Disease Is The New Danger Behind Marijuana Use

  • November 17, 2023
  • 7 min read
Marijuana And Heart Disease Risk: Peripheral Arterial Disease Is The New Danger Behind Marijuana Use

In a new study, marijuana and heart disease risk have been observed in a young age group, which decreases long-term life expectancy

Experts Link Marijuana Risk Heart Attack

recent years, there has been a significant increase in marijuana use in many parts of the world. As public perception and legislation around this substance have evolved, more people are choosing to use it for recreational or medicinal purposes. However, its increasing consumption without any medical purpose or control carries health risks that go far beyond its benefits. This warning is convenient after our country’s imminent regulation of its therapeutic use. However, without public and responsible policies based on scientific evidence, this consumption becomes another risky behavior within the facilities that can cause severe physical and mental damage.

Can Smoking Marijuana Cause Clogged Arteries?

It should be noted that the population analyzed in the study was young and that the data collected proceeds. Therefore, there is a possibility that marijuana and heart disease risk may be increased in other age groups. Of particular concern is the fact that peripheral arterial disease in youth is associated with poorer long-term prognoses later in life.

This finding for marijuana risk of heart attack is also striking given that, according to the Ministry of Health, the consumption of marijuana through joints or spliffs continues to be the most prevalent among young people. According to these data, students who smoked marijuana in the last month of the previous year admit that, on the day they use, they smoke on average 3.3 joints a day (3.7 for boys and 2.7 for girls).

In the US, for example, with the legalization of recreational cannabis use in several North American states, its use has become more common not only among young people but also among older adults. For this reason, the researchers suggest that their current findings may not reflect the actual cardiovascular risks associated with cannabis use. Therefore, they consider it essential to carry out additional research examining this relationship between 2019 and 2023.

Marijuana Risk Heart Attack: Studies Reveal Association Between Marijuana Use And Increased Risk Of Heart Attack

Two preliminary studies to be released at the American Heart Association’s 2023 Scientific Sessions found that regular marijuana use may increase the risk of heart failure, stroke, or heart attack even after taking other factors into account—cardiovascular risks such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.

Although the use of marijuana, which is medically known as cannabis, has gained a strong trend in the United States due to its legalization for recreational and medical use, there is still little evidence of how marijuana use can affect people’s heart and brain health. Therefore, these studies carried out by a group of researchers provide relevant information about the relationship between regular marijuana consumption and the cardiovascular risks that may arise.

So Can Smoking Marijuana Cause Clogged Arteries 

Among the results of this study, it was determined that 2,958 people, that is, 2% of the participants, developed heart failure. Similarly, marijuana users had a 34% higher risk of developing heart failure compared to people who did not consume hallucinogenic substances.

However, in a secondary analysis for “Can smoking marijuana cause clogged arteries,” where coronary artery disease was added as a factor to be evaluated, the risk of heart failure was reduced from 34% to 27%. This means that this disease is a way to increase the risk of heart failure.

Our results should encourage more researchers to study marijuana use better to understand its health consequences, especially cardiovascular risk. We want to provide the population with high-quality information about marijuana use and help inform policy decisions at the state level, educate patients, and guide health professionals.

Sleep And Marijuana

CBD or Cannabidiol would be the non-psychoactive part of marijuana. The usual formulation of CBD is an oil sold as an extract, a vaporized liquid, or an oil-based capsule. Some foods and beverages are among many cannabidiol-infused products available to the public. CBD is also being studied as a possible therapeutic treatment for Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, anxiety, chronic pain, and fibromyalgia, although at the moment research in these fields is still limited.

Still, CBD can cause side effects such as dry mouth, diarrhea, decreased appetite, drowsiness, and fatigue. It also interacts with other medications, such as anticoagulants. It is less harmful than THC and, at low doses could even improve alertness. On the other hand, if we increase the amount, we notice sedation and drowsiness. It acts as a thermoregulator by lowering core body temperature and increasing the brain’s sensitivity to adenosine, thus increasing sleep pressure. These facts induce a decrease in the time needed to fall asleep, a feeling of relaxation, and a sense of having deeper sleep. But, it is in this increase in dosage and chronic consumption that long-term adverse effects will begin to occur.

Impact Of Marijuana On Sleep

People who regularly consume marijuana often notice that its use can shorten the time to fall asleep and have the sensation of sleeping with fewer awakenings and more deeply. Still, it is essential to know that what is being induced is more of sedation (such as anesthetics) than physiological and good-quality sleep. Studies show that THC blocks REM sleep. That is why when you stop using, there is a significant rebound of REM sleep with very vivid dreams and nightmares. It is a very similar mechanism in people who try to stop drinking alcohol or even as part of the withdrawal syndrome.

These people with chronic consumption may also report very unpleasant dreams or nightmares towards the end of the night or early in the morning before waking up. The most significant amount of REM sleep occurs towards the end of the night’s sleep period. These sensations may be related to the fact that during the first part of the night, marijuana has blocked some phases of REM sleep, and when the body eliminates the substance from the blood throughout the night, the brain has a huge rebound of sleep. REM to compensate. That is why it is an intense period of dreams or nightmares, often with unpleasant content. Those first hours of REM block make the brain try to compensate for them at the end of the sleep period. The brain thus aims to recover that REM sleep that is so necessary for many mental processes.

The long-term effects of marijuana use are profound: it produces anxiety disorders, psychosis, and depression. Memory impairment, decreased motor coordination capacity, and motivational syndrome. It has been seen in scientific studies that it produces atrophy of the brain areas of the hippocampus and amygdala, brain regions that regulate emotions, mood, and memory.

Therefore, we can conclude that long-term marijuana consumption, not for therapeutic and regulated purposes, interferes with good quality of sleep. For this reason, we advise against its consumption at the sleep units to address sleep problems.

Increased risk of cardiovascular attacks in older marijuana users

In this second investigation, the researchers evaluated data on marijuana and heart disease risk to investigate whether there were complications from a cardiovascular event in patients who used marijuana. For this analysis, records of discharges over 65 years of age with some cardiovascular risk factors who did not report tobacco consumption were reviewed.

As a result of this study, it was determined that of the 28,535 cannabis users with cardiovascular risk factors, 20% were at increased risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke while hospitalized. Likewise, 13.9% of this population sustained an adverse cardiac and cerebral event while hospitalized.

Another relevant fact from this investigation was that cannabis users, compared to non-users, had a higher rate of heart attack. In figures, this translates into 7.6% versus 6%, respectively. Additionally, blood pressure and high cholesterol were two predictors of cardiac events in marijuana users.

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Fatima Humayun

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