Smoking weed daily could increase your risk of heart disease by 34% compared to non-smokers, researchers say
People who use cannabis daily have a higher risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) — the leading cause of heart attack in the US — compared to those who have never used the drug, according to a news release from the American College of Cardiology.
Researchers found that those who self-identified as daily cannabis consumers were 34% more likely to be diagnosed with CAD, compared to those who reported no history of cannabis use.
CAD is the most common form of heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is characterized by cholesterol buildup on the walls of the arteries that supply blood to the heart. While some people with CAD experience warning signs like chest pain or shortness of breath, for other people the disease can cause a heart attack seemingly out of nowhere.
“There seems to be a dose-response relationship in that more frequent cannabis use is associated with a higher risk of CAD,” lead researcher Ishan Paranjpe, a resident physician at Stanford University, said in the news release.
People who smoke weed daily are at the highest risk
Cannabis is now legal either recreationally or medically in 38 states, but researchers are still learning about the potential consequences of long-term use.
Paranjpe and his team used data from the National Institutes of Health’s All of Us Research Program, which surveyed the health and habits of 175,000 Americans, to find the most recent link between heart health and cannabis use.
They considered how often participants reported using cannabis and ruled out other risk factors for CAD, like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. After adjusting for age and sex, they found daily cannabis users had an increased risk of developing heart disease.
The researchers also considered the risk associated with cannabis use disorder, which is defined by continued, frequent use of cannabis despite physical, psychological, or social problems.
Since cannabis use disorder has been studied before, the researchers were able to use previously identified gene variations associated with the disorder in their analysis. That information helped them conclude that cannabis use disorder is linked to an increase in heart disease risk.
People who smoke once a month or less have no increased risk of heart disease
People who used weed only once a month or less had no significant risk of heart disease related to their cannabis consumption. The study did not differentiate between smoking cannabis and other forms of consumption, such as taking edibles.
The researchers noted that the findings of similar studies have been mixed. One study from the UK published in 2022 found that people who smoked weed more than once per month were more likely to have their first heart attack before age 50 compared to less frequent smokers and non-smokers.
The American Heart Association’s official stance on cannabis includes a warning that smoking or vaping any substance, including cannabis products, comes with a risk of harm to the heart, lungs, and blood vessels.
Paranjpe will present the complete findings of the study at the American College of Cardiology’s annual meeting on March 5. Until then, only preliminary results are available online, showed Insider.
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