Buzzkill: New Study Shows Weed Increases Risk of Heart Attack

Heart attack
(Image via Shutterstock)

Marijuana has been widely touted for its health benefits, but a new study by researchers at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia has found that the use of marijuana could increase adults risk of stroke and heart failure.

Researchers studied 20 million health records from patients 18 to 55 years old who were discharged from one of more than a thousand hospitals across the United States in 2009 and 2010.

1.5 percent of these patients said they’d used marijuana, and the researchers associated this use with a higher risk for stroke, coronary artery disease, heart failure, and sudden cardiac death. Pot use was also tied to common heart disease risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure, smoking, and drinking.

Lead researcher Dr. Aditi Kalla explained, “Even when we corrected for known risk factors, we still found a higher rate of both stroke and heart failure in these patients…that leads us to believe that there is something else going on besides just obesity or diet-related cardiovascular side effects. It’s important for physicians to know these effects so we can better educate patients.”

But like any new finding, not everyone believes these conclusions are as bad as they sound. The deputy director of the marijuana advocacy group NORML, Paul Armentaro, says the increase in heart risk is, “a relatively nominal one,” and that the study “is inconsistent with the findings of several other longitudinal studies finding that those who consume cannabis, but not tobacco, suffer no greater likelihood of adverse events compared to those with no history of use.”

However, Armentaro does concede that those with pre-existing conditions that may be affected by marijuana use should use caution. “As with any medication, patients should consult thoroughly with their physician before deciding whether the medical use of cannabis is safe and appropriate,”

Dr. Andrew Rogove, who directs stroke care at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, N.Y. says that this new study “suggests that marijuana may not be as safe as proponents for its legalization claim…further studies need to be performed to elucidate how marijuana use can increase risk for stroke and heart failure and if any particular way that it is used confers a higher risk.”

These findings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

  • Art Perez

    Potheads dont care, they live in their la la land where life is beautiful all the time!

    • Saiful Rimkeit

      Or so it appears. Art, this reminds me of William Blake stating “The eye that alters, alters all”. Goes along with altered states.

    • Mendocino

      Ha ! Ha! Ha!

  • Robert Jacobsen

    Remember Santa Rosa’s Mr Bones ? He died of a heart attack at the age of 47 after being a marijuana cutter for many years . At his wake there were innumerable signs stating no smoking .

    • Bodhisattva

      Do you perhaps mean trimmer ?
      If so, trimming can be a very demanding, stressful, repetitious, boring and thankless job, especially if what one is working on is not their own.
      Some strains require more time and special skill than others, but the top shelf strains are still done by hand (not machine groomed).
      Most of the manual trimming is based on piecework, usually around $250 per LB. for the good stuff, and sometimes there is pressure to fill an order which involves deadlines and all nighters. It depends on the person trimming and the strain, but the average professional trimmer can do 1 LB in 8 hours. That is about average $31 per hour, but if it takes a trimmer 12 hours to trim a pound, that is only around $20 per hour, so there is pressure to work fast and furious, also if a trimmer is too slow, they could easily be fired for being too slow.

      • Robert Jacobsen

        Just another expert Drug worker . They always have the explanations for a Drug marijuana life with health issue . How will it finally work out ?

  • Bodhisattva

    I have heard that marijuana can increase heart rate.
    There are several organic and natural herbs that can reduce blood pressure, they are:
    Hawthorne , Passion Flower and L-Tryptophan

  • James Valentine

    what a steamy pile of garbage this article and study is!!!