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Cannabis May Up Heart Risk
Cannabis use may increase the risk of heart failure, stroke, or myocardial infarction, according to a pair of large observational studies presented at the American College of Cardiology’s Annual Scientific Session in Washington, DC.
Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia have now legalized the medical or recreational use of cannabis. But with limited research to date, the public health implications are unknown.
Case reports of heart failure or stroke in young otherwise healthy individuals who use cannabis have raised concern that the drug might have some adverse effects on the heart. Aditi Kalla, MD, a cardiology fellow at the Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, explained that several case reports have described heart failure in young patients who had used high enough doses of marijuana to develop cyclic vomiting. In these cases, stopping use of cannabis reversed the condition and screening tests for other possible causes came up empty.
In addition, at least 2 cases of simultaneous stroke and heart attack have been reported in young individuals apparently caused by blood clots after using substantial amounts of marijuana.
“Cannabis may increase the activity of certain clotting factors and may also affect platelet activity that leads to heart attacks and/or strokes in these patients,” she said.
To better assess the heart risks associated with cannabis, …