Study finds smoking marijuana could have surprising health risk

People who smoke marijuana have a three times greater risk of dying from hypertension

People who smoke marijuana have a three times greater risk of dying from hypertension

Researchers analyzed data from 1,213 participants who were considered marijuana users based on their responses to the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

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

Recent marijuana legislation in the USA has made it necessary to determine the association between marijuana use and CV mortality, according to Barbara A. Yankey, PhD, MPH, MPA, MSc Clin Pharm, from the division of epidemiology and biostatistics at the School of Public Health at Georgia State University, and colleagues.

Going from being an occasional marijuana user to indulging every day increases the risk of psychosis by up to 159 percent, research revealed last month.

Frequently abusing the substance also significantly reduces a user's ability to resist socially unacceptable behavior when provoked, the research adds. But even those in the know, and who were not involved in the research, say this study should be noted. For each year of marijuana use, the HR was 1.04 (95% CI, 1-1.07).

Information on cigarette use was also collected.

Combining the data on marijuana use with the National Centre for Health Statistics' mortality data in 2011, the effect of marijuana use and the duration of use on deaths due to hypertension (which included causes like hypertensive renal disease as well as primary hypertension), cerebrovascular disease and heart disease, controlling for the use of cigarette, was estimated.

Other studies have also linked smoking marijuana to heart attack risk, stating it is a "rare trigger of myocardial infarction".

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.

Ms Yankey said: 'Marijuana stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, leading to increases in heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen demand. "However, there is little research on the impact of marijuana use on [CV] and cerebrovascular mortality". It determined that pot use was more associated with hypertension than cigarette use was.

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.

Experts believe the findings could have particular implications in the U.S., where eight states have legalized marijuana and others are thought to be moving towards it.

A few limitations, such as the uncertainty in whether participants used marijuana continuously since their first trial, were pointed out by Ms. Yankey.

'If marijuana use is implicated in cardiovascular diseases and deaths, then it rests on the health community and policy makers to protect the public'.

Gionee A1 Lite with 20MP front camera launched in India
Bus crashes into shop in London high street