Washington D.C. : Weed smokers beware! A recent study shows that marijuana smokers have triple the death risk from high blood pressure than the non-smokers. “Steps are being taken towards legalisation and decriminalisation of marijuana in the United States, and rates of recreational marijuana use may increase substantially as a result,” said lead author Barbara A Yankey from the Georgia State University, Atlanta, US.
The study was published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, where she adds: “However, there is little research on the impact of marijuana use on cardiovascular and cerebrovascular mortality.”
In the absence of longitudinal data on marijuana use, the researchers designed a retrospective follow-up study of NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) participants aged 20 years and above. In 2005-2006, participants were asked if they had ever used marijuana.
Information on marijuana use was merged with mortality data in 2011 from the National Centre for Health Statistics. The researchers estimated the associations of marijuana use, and duration of use, with death from hypertension, heart disease, and cerebrovascular disease, controlling for cigarette use and demographic variables including sex, age, and ethnicity.
Among a total of 1,213 participants, 34% used neither marijuana nor cigarettes, 21% used only marijuana, 20% used marijuana and smoked cigarettes, 16% used marijuana and were past-smokers, 5% were past-smokers and 4% only smoked cigarettes. The average duration of marijuana use was 11.5 years.
Yankey pointed out that there were limitations to the way marijuana use was estimated. For example, it cannot be certain that participants used marijuana continuously since they first tried it.
The authors stated that the cardiovascular risk associated with marijuana use may be greater than the cardiovascular risk already established for cigarette smoking.
-With agency’s inputs