Marijuana and its effects on health have always been a debatable subject. Some studies suggest that this drug has medical and recreational benefits while others say differently. Recently a new study was conducted which reported that 2.3% of reported marijuana users suffered from some type of CVD (cardiovascular disease).
The research paper was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. This study was focused on how cannabis or marijuana interacts with prescription drugs for cardiovascular disease. It also looked at the effects of this herb on the heart at a molecular level.
The researchers took the data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) which showcased the estimated marijuana users with CVD issues.
They discovered that out of the 89.6 million U.S. adults reported for being marijuana users only 2 million had some sort of cardiovascular illness. This equates to 2.3% of recorded marijuana users. This is relatively low considering the broader U.S. population.
Heart diseases are the leading cause of death in the United States. Approximately 23.4% of all the deaths in 2015 were a result of CVD, according to Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Another study conducted by the American Heart Association (AHA) estimates that almost half of United States adults have some type of CVD. They published a paper in the Circulation journal which claims approximately 121.5 million U.S. adults, this equates to 48% of the population.
The current evidence is very limited and is insufficient to prove any solid interaction of marijuana and CVD but that does not mean there is no link. The current data is just not enough or highly trusted.
Why isn’t there enough data? Well, the research on marijuana in the U.S. is significantly restricted. This limits the researchers to conduct clinical trials and better understand its effects on health.
The current studies and research are usually based on observation and the researchers are confident that there is a possible link between CVD and marijuana. However, observational studies are not reliable and have problems with their methodologies. The conclusion can not be simply drawn from these studies.
Dr. Ersilia M. DeFilippis, the lead author says, “Marijuana use, both recreational and medical, is increasing nationally, yet many of its cardiovascular effects remain poorly understood. In our NHANES query, we estimated that 2 million adults with marijuana use had CVD in 2015–2016.”
“This highlights that we need more data so that we can better counsel providers as well as patients.”
The usage of marijuana is skyrocketing in the United States, researchers are urging the doctors to ask the patients about their exposure to marijuana in order to prescribe the medications accordingly. Some cardiovascular medications, comprising statins and blood thinners, can be affected by marijuana use. This can prevent excessive bleeding and a dangerous drop in blood pressure.
The subject still remains ambiguous, high-quality research needs to be conducted to draw any reliable conclusion. It is clear, however, that a person already suffering from CVD should avoid the use of marijuana for his own benefit.