Marijuana use linked with increased risk of heart attack, heart failure

Marijuana use

  • During the study period, 2,958 people (almost 2%) developed heart failure.
  • People who reported daily marijuana use had a 34% increased risk of developing heart failure, compared to those who reported never using marijuana. This risk was the same regardless of age, sex at birth or smoking history.
  • In a secondary analysis, when coronary artery disease was added to the investigation, the risk of heart failure dropped from 34% to 27%, suggesting that coronary artery disease is a pathway through which daily marijuana use may lead to heart failure.
  • The definition of marijuana use was using marijuana when not prescribed for a health condition, or, if prescribed for medical purposes, using it beyond that purpose.
  • The median participant age was 54 years; 60.9% of participants were female at birth; 70.7% self-identified as white adults; 21.8% were Black or African American adults; 4.2% were Asian adults; 2.2% were identified as more than one race/ethnicity; and 1.1% were from other races/ethnicities.
  • The study enrollment began in June 2016. Participants were followed from when they enrolled until June 2022, a maximum of approximately 4 years (45 months).
  • 20% had an increased chance of having a major heart or brain event while hospitalized, compared to the group who did not use cannabis.
  • 13.9% of cannabis users with cardiovascular risk factors had a major adverse heart and brain event while hospitalized compared to non-cannabis users.
  • Additionally, the cannabis users in comparison to non-cannabis users had a higher rate of heart attacks (7.6% versus 6%, respectively) and were more likely to be transferred to other facilities (28.9% vs. 19%).
  • High blood pressure (defined as greater than 130/80 mm Hg) and high cholesterol were predictors of major adverse heart and brain events in marijuana users.
  • 2019 National Inpatient Sample health records were reviewed for 28,835 adults with cannabis use disorder and high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes or high cholesterol. The comparison group included 10,680,000 adults with the same risk factors who did not use marijuana.
  • Researchers examined hospitalization records to analyze the incidence of in-hospital cardiovascular disease events for adults in both groups.
  • 69.5% of participants in the cannabis use disorder group were male and 30.5% were female. In contrast, 45.8% were males in the non-cannabis use group versus 54.2 in the female non-use group.
  • Health records of race according to cannabis use versus non-use , respectively was: 70.2% versus 76.4 among white adults; 20.1% versus 10.8% among Black adults; 5.6% versus 7.4% among Hispanic adults; 0.70% versus 2.7% among Asian or Pacific Islander adults; and 1% versus 0.40% among Native American adults.

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