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Marijuana can expose young users to a dangerous condition

M medical marijuana has many champions, and the potential therapeutic benefits of the drug have paved the way for full legalization in some regions of the United States. But science is not always so positive. An increasing body of evidence suggests that cannabis use poses a plethora of medical problems for people – and even the danger of a life-threatening disease for younger consumers.

A new analysis of 43,000 adults suggests that marijuana is more likely to have a stroke over an extended period of time. People who consumed cannabis and did not consume tobacco products for more than 1

0 days a month were found to have about 2.5 times more likely to have a stroke than non-users.

The risk for people who also smoked cigarettes or used e-cigarettes rose: In this population, the likelihood of stroke was three times higher than for non-consumers. Preliminary results are expected to be presented this month at the American Heart Association's Scientific Meetings in Philadelphia and are expected to be published in the journal Stroke.

Smoking marijuana could increase the risk of stroke in young people.

The first author Dr. Tarang Parekh, a research fellow at George Mason University, and co-author dr. Rupak Desai, a research associate at the Atlanta VA Medical Center, reports Inverse that this is the case during the study Without establishing a cause-and-effect relationship, the results suggest that young people commonly use marijuana may have a higher risk of stroke than those who do not consume marijuana.

"We believe that this study was a crucial step toward addressing this important issue of stroke risk among young cannabis users in the course of legalization and decriminalization in the United States," they say. "Frequent cannabis users may be at higher risk of stroke than non-users."

Future studies are required to validate and extend the results. The study did not consider how people consumed cannabis, how much they consumed, the age at which people had a stroke, or whether they consumed the drug more than 10 days a month.

"Frequent cannabis users may be at higher risk of stroke than non-users.

The risk of early stroke persisted in the group of marijuana users after researchers had considered various confounding factors such as the co-occurrence of conditions.

  Stroke, NIH
The science behind a stroke.

Strokes occur when one of the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. This sudden and sometimes fatal interruption of the blood supply to the brain can occur at any time but the risk increases with age. According to the CDC, in 2009 about 34 percent of people hospitalized for stroke were younger than 65 years old.

This new research is in line with previous studies suggesting that marijuana poses a risk of stroke for young people.

There is also growing evidence that the use of marijuana may affect human health. At the same conference, another research team plans to present preliminary findings linking the diagnosis of cannabis use disorders to hospital for arrhythmia – an irregular heartbeat.

How marijuana affects the cardiovascular system is unclear. However, it is thought to be related to how different cannabinoids, the chemicals contained in cannabis, interact with the brain and its blood vessels. Only further research will answer these and the innumerable other questions scientists have about the effects of cannabis on our bodies.

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