By Josh Kaplan
There are over 630,000 deaths annually in the United States due to heart disease, which represent nearly a quarter of all deaths. An additional 140,000 deaths result from stroke. Cannabis consumers are used to warnings about the potential damage the drug is doing to their brain, but what about their heart? Could cannabis be affecting our cardiovascular health?
The cardiovascular system is made up of the heart and blood vessels that transport blood throughout your body (the “cardio” part of the term refers to the heart, while “vascular” refers to the system of blood vessels, veins, and arteries). When the cardiovascular system isn’t working properly, it can lead to a heart attack where part of the heart muscle dies, or a stroke which is the blockage or rupture of blood vessels that then deprives brain cells of their necessary nutrients and causes them to die.
In a recent meta-analysis, researchers scrutinized 24 articles that investigated the impacts of cannabis on cardiovascular risk factors (such as cholesterol levels, obesity rates, and diabetes) and cardiovascular events like stroke and heart attack. They concluded that there’s insufficient evidence that cannabis use has any effect on heart attacks or stroke, or increases their risk factors. The researchers found some evidence that cannabis use may be associated with lower risk for obesity.
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