Cardiovascular risks soar among daily cannabis users

Published on July 5, 2024 by Special to the oz.

An EKG monitor Photo: Adobe stock/the oz.

Using cannabis once a week may increase your risk of heart attack and stroke—and those odds rise dramatically the more frequently you use it, a new analysis suggests.

The Harvard-led study, published March 5, 2024, in the Journal of the American Heart Association, analyzed CDC data collected from 2016 to 2020 from nearly 435,000 adults ages 18 to 74. About three-quarters of the 35,000 participants who said they used cannabis reported smoking as the most common way they got high. Participants also may have vaped or consumed edibles.

Compared with people who never used cannabis, participants who did so once a week had a 3% higher risk of heart attack and a 5% higher risk of stroke during the four-year study period. But those who used cannabis daily faced 25% greater odds of a heart attack and were 42% likelier to have a stroke.

The study was observational, meaning it couldn’t prove that cannabis use causes cardiovascular problems—just that an association exists. But people who use cannabis should understand this association, especially as its use is becoming more popular, the study’s authors said.

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