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Increased cardiovascular disease risk in individuals with cannabis use disorder

  • 2 Min To Read
  • 7 months ago

A recent study published in the journal Addiction suggests that individuals with cannabis use disorder, also known as marijuana use disorder, may have a 60% higher risk of experiencing their first major cardiovascular event, such as a stroke or heart attack, compared to those without the disorder. The study also examined the risk for other occurrences, such as abnormal heartbeats and narrowed blood vessels in the limbs.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 30% of marijuana users have cannabis use disorder and struggle to quit despite the negative impact on their lives. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that marijuana use among young adults has reached its highest levels since monitoring began in 1988, with 43% of young adults reporting past-year usage in 2021.

Cardiovascular disease affects nearly half of all American adults and is a leading cause of death, making it important to understand and control its risk factors, according to the American Heart Association.

Dr. Blen Tesfu, a general practitioner and medical advisor for the UK-based healthcare platform Welzo, explains that the relationship between cannabis use and cardiovascular disease is complex and can vary depending on factors such as frequency and duration of use, method of consumption, and individual susceptibility.

Cannabis use can lead to a temporary increase in heart rate and variations in blood pressure, potentially triggering or exacerbating underlying heart conditions. It can also cause blood vessels to temporarily narrow, reducing blood flow to the heart. Changes in lipid profiles, including increased triglyceride levels and decreased levels of "good" cholesterol, can contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Atif Zafar, Chief of the Stroke Program at St. Michael's Hospital and founder of Human-Healthcare.com, explains that the compound THC in cannabis can interact with a receptor called "CB1" and cause inflammation within the blood vessels.

Treatment for cannabis use disorder typically involves a combination of behavioral therapy, counseling, and, in some cases, medication. Behavioral therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and motivational enhancement therapy, have shown to be effective in treating cannabis use disorder. Support groups and group therapy can also provide peer support during the recovery process.

It is important for individuals with cannabis use disorder to seek help from healthcare professionals who can assess the severity of their use and determine the most appropriate treatment approach.

While the study highlights a potential link between cannabis use disorder and an increased risk of cardiovascular events, it is important to note that the research only focused on marijuana use and did not differentiate between different consumption methods, such as edibles, vaping, or smoking. Further research is needed to fully understand the relationship between cannabis use disorder and cardiovascular disease.

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