Two new studies found that older non-smokers who use marijuana were at a higher risk for heart attack and stroke when hospitalized while those whose marijuana use is daily have a 34 percent higher risk of developing heart failure, CNN reported.
The two non-published studies were presented last Monday in Philadelphia at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions.
Robert Page, the chairman of the volunteer writing group for the 2020 Medical Marijuana, Recreational Cannabis, and Cardiovascular Health, said in a statement that the data in both studies “strongly point” to any use of cannabis leading to “the development of cardiovascular disease.”
The American Heart Association advises against smoking or vaping any substance including cannabis due to the potential harm to the heart, blood vessels, and lungs.
Page, a professor with the University of Colorado’s Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences said recent research on cannabis use suggests that smoking or inhaling cannabis, like smoking cigarettes, increases the level of carbon monoxide in the blood and tar, substances linked to heart disease, arrhythmia, chest pains, heart attacks, and other conditions.
Often, older adults develop several chronic conditions by the age of 65 which could make the impact of marijuana use worse, according to a new study that examined cannabis users over 65 who did not smoke cigarettes.
The lead author of the study, Dr. Avilash Mondal from Philadelphia’s Nazareth Hospital, said the study is unique since it did not include patients who smoke cigarettes as well as use marijuana. This allowed researchers to focus exclusively on how cannabis use affects the cardiovascular system.
The study found that the 8,535 adults over 65 who abused marijuana had a 20 percent greater risk of a major heart or brain event while hospitalized compared to the more than 10 million adults who did not use marijuana.