Cannabis or most popularly known as marijuana is often used as a medicinal drug. Many people also use the herb for recreation because it produces a high feeling to the mind and body. It also increases appetite and heightens mood giving a euphoric effect. Nonetheless, whether cannabis is good for the heart or not is still unclear to most experts.
Several studies have been conducted to prove that marijuana could affect one’s health in any way. Or maybe not. One study reveals that cannabis increases the heart rate. Another one shows the association between marijuana use and acute coronary syndrome. Still, there is a different study that shows no link between death and heart disease.
The newest one has been handled by The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, under the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The preliminary study comes with caution and aims to analyze the link between marijuana use and heart disease. This is a follow up study to the previous ones linking cannabis to heart rate and blood flow.
The European Journal of Preventive Cardiology published the latest study which shows the possibility of linking marijuana use to deaths caused by cardiovascular diseases. The study was based on the response to several questions including marijuana use through questionnaires and physical examination of more than 1,200 people who also took a survey back in 2005.
A comparison of mortality data was made to the same group of people in 2005 and 2011. It was found that those who smokes marijuana has higher cardiovascular death compared with those who don’t.
However, the result seems to be inconclusive due to the limitation of the study. There were many factors that could affect cardiovascular activities that were not considered such as diet and exercise. It was also controlled to /those who were already diagnosed with high blood pressure.
In addition to the factors that were not accounted that limits the validity of the study, is the assumption that those who admitted marijuana use in the survey continued to smoke. Other ways of taking in marijuana in the system such as eating marijuana-laced brownies or vaporizing were not mentioned in the study.
Dr. Vinay Prasad, associate professor of medicine at Oregon Health & Science University quoted in her email that “It does not prove that if you choose to use marijuana you are more likely to die of cardiovascular disease. I think the major limit of the study is that there may be unobserved differences between the people who used and admitted to using marijuana during the years of this study, and cardiovascular outcomes that the researchers did not adjust for. In fact, that is likely.”
Since reports keep showing various results, experts urge to conduct further research and studies to get a more comprehensive conclusion on how the controversial plant/ could impact a person’s health.
Barbara Yankey of Georgia State University lead author of the study wrote in her email. “We recommend purposeful designed follow-up studies to assess the relationship between marijuana use and cardiovascular mortality.”