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Marijuana smokers have greater risk of death from high blood pressure

10 August 2017

The average duration of use among users of marijuana, or cannabis, was 11.5 years.

Experts argue the findings are particularly important given marijuana's legalization in eight U.S. states, including Alaska, California and Colorado.

The study now published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology looks at the marijuana consumption of USA adults and whether there is a link between their use of the drug and cardiovascular mortality.

Interestingly, marijuana users had a higher risk of dying from hypertension. The two mental health conditions have previously been linked.

There are obvious limitations to the study, especially the way marijuana use was calculated - it is not certain that participants used the drug continuously since they first tried it.

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Compared with subjects who had never used marijuana, the results revealed that marijuana users were 3.42 times more likely to die from high blood pressure.

Information on cigarette use was also collected.

A just-released study found that people who smoke pot have a three times greater risk of dying from hypertension or high blood pressure.

Dr. Vinay Prasad, associate professor of medicine at Oregon Health & Science University and an expert on the design and results of medical studies, found the study's conclusions suspect. "Marijuana stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, leading to increases in heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen demand", said Barbara A. Yankey, study lead author, and PhD student in the School of Public Health at Georgia State University, in a press statement. "This indicates that marijuana use may carry even heavier consequences on the cardiovascular system than that already established for cigarette smoking". "However, there is little research on the impact of marijuana use on [CV] and cerebrovascular mortality".

Yankey and colleagues estimated HRs for hypertension, heart disease and cerebrovascular mortality as a result of marijuana use by conducting Cox proportional hazard regression analyses.

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More than half of Americans with type 2 diabetes don't meet guidelines for cardiovascular disease prevention, according to a review in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The findings, from a study of some 1200 people, could have implications in the United States among other countries.
Several states have legalised marijuana and others are moving towards it.

Ms Yankey said: 'Support for liberal marijuana use is partly due to claims that it is beneficial and possibly not harmful to health.

"It is important to establish whether any health benefits outweigh the potential health, social and economic risks". It determined that pot use was more associated with hypertension than cigarette use was.

Some research suggests cannabis could reduce the size of tumors.

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Marijuana smokers have greater risk of death from high blood pressure