Harry Wilmerding on September 8, 2021
Young adults who recently used cannabis are more likely to suffer from heart attacks, according to a recent study in a major medical journal.
Adults under the age of 45 who consumed cannabis over the past 30 days experienced almost double the number of heart attacks than those who didn’t use the drug, according to the study published Tuesday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).
“Our study provides evidence supporting an association between recent cannabis use and history of myocardial infarction (MI) in young adults,” the authors wrote. “Increasing cannabis use in an at-risk population could have negative implications for cardiovascular health.”
The study used Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data from over 33,000 adults aged 18 to 44 from 2017 to 2018 and discovered that 1.3% of the 17% of adults who used cannabis over the previous 30 days said they had a heart attack. Only 0.8% of non-cannabis users reported a heart attack.
“There’s increasing evidence that this could potentially be harmful to you, both in the short term and the long term,” Dr. Karim Ladah, the study’s lead author and an anesthesiologist at St. Michael’s Hospital in Canada and the University of Toronto, told CNN.
The higher likelihood of heart attacks was seen across all ways of using the drug, including smoking, vaping and eating or drinking.
Ladah said in a statement that the study did not show how cannabis affects the heart but noted that marijuana use could lead to irregular heart rates, which can cause heart attacks.
The study was published amid a growing movement to legalize or decriminalize cannabis, which has been cited to help with pain relief and anxiety. Cannabis is currently fully legal in 18 states.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer said that ending the federal prohibition on cannabis would be his top legislative priority when he introduced the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, according to The Hill.
The legislation co-sponsored by Democratic New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and Democratic Oregon Senator Ron Wyden would lift the federal prohibition on cannabis and allow marijuana businesses to access bank accounts and other financial services.
A recent Gallup poll published on Aug. 17 showed that 49% of U.S. adults said they tried marijuana, marking the highest measure to date.
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