American Heart Association questions benefits of marijuana
Pot users, consider the health risks. The American Heart Association says there are some.
According to two recent studies, marijuana use may be linked to strokes and irregular heartbeats in young people.
Researchers in Virginia observed nearly 43,000 people ages 18-44. The 14% that reported using cannabis in the last 30 days were determined to be three times as likely to suffer a stroke.
For those diagnosed with cannabis use disorder, the risks also spike. A second study out of Oklahoma found a 50% greater chance they would go to the hospital for an arrhythmia — or an irregular heart rate.
It's important to note the first study is based on behavioral risk factors while the second connects heavy usage with hospitalization.
According to a release from AHA, "it does not prove cause and effect," but "establishes an important trend."
Nevertheless, AHA President Dr. Robert Harrington says it's important to pay attention to results coming from studies such as these.
"As we see that states are increasingly legalizing use of marijuana or cannabis-containing products in part because of assumed health benefits, we at the AHA feel that it's important that those health benefits actually be confirmed," he noted. "Because there's actually surprisingly little rigorous scientific information on health benefits of these products and drugs, and so in that regard this study is important."
The findings of both of reports were discussed recently at the AHA's Scientific Sessions in Philadelphia.
Neither study received outside funding, and despite more states legalizing the use of marijuana the AHA doesn't take a political position. It does however, advocate "a public health infrastructure" to cover the basic issues that have become the standard for the tobacco industry, like age limitations, restrictions and smoke-free air laws.
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