Recent observational research presented at the American Heart Association (AHA) 2023 Scientific Sessions reveals a 34% higher risk of heart failure within four years associated with daily marijuana use compared to non-use. The findings, while observational and indicating association rather than causation, contribute to a growing body of evidence on the potential cardiovascular effects of marijuana.
The study, led by Yakubu Bene-Alhasan, MD, MPH, and colleagues, examined data from the National Institutes of Health–sponsored All of Us research program. The analysis included 156,999 adults aged 18 or older without a baseline heart failure diagnosis. During a median follow-up of 45.3 months, 2958 incidents of heart failure events occurred. After adjusting for various factors, daily marijuana users exhibited a 34% increased heart failure risk, though this significance diminished when factoring in coronary artery disease (CAD).
Bene-Alhasan emphasized that the study cannot establish causation but noted a growing body of evidence suggesting negative cardiovascular effects associated with marijuana use. The study categorized participants based on reported marijuana use frequency, revealing that daily users faced an increased risk compared to never-users.
Another study presented at the same sessions by Avilash Mondal, MD, and colleagues explored the association between cannabis use disorder (CUD) and major adverse cardiac and cerebral events (MACCEs) in older patients with cardiovascular risk factors who were tobacco nonsmokers. The study, based on National Inpatient Sample data, found that patients with CUD had a 20% increased risk for MACCEs, including all-cause mortality, acute myocardial infarction, cardiac arrest, or stroke.
The research sheds light on the potential cardiovascular risks associated with marijuana use, emphasizing the need for healthcare providers to inquire about patients’ cannabis use when obtaining medical histories. Both studies highlight the complexity of assessing the impact of marijuana on cardiovascular health and underscore the importance of continued research in this evolving field.
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