In the lack of research done on the possible negative effects of marijuana on the human body, people are mainly led by the notion that cannabis can only do good to the health of the individuals who take it.
While it’s true that cannabis has been proven to be very beneficial in many instances, and this kind of research has strongly affected its wide acceptance and legalization. However, people should not be led to think that marijuana is the new panacea.
Now, a new study claims that marijuana is associated with a “greater than a threefold risk of death from hypertension.”
The research led by Barbara A. Yankey, a Ph.D. student in the School of Public Health, Georgia State University, Atlanta, has focused on the effects of marijuana on cardiovascular and cerebrovascular mortality.
After surveying 1,213 participants of whether they have ever smoked marijuana or cigarettes, they discovered that the marijuana users were 3,42 times more likely to die from high blood pressure.
The participants were labeled as marijuana users based on whether they had ever smoked marijuana, without taking into consideration if they smoked it on a regular basis, or had tried it only once.
However, here is where the limitations of the study appear. First, the assumption that the participants were regular users of marijuana is not supported. As a recent survey shows, a staggering estimate of 52% of Americans have tried marijuana at some point, while only 14% use it ‘regularly’, meaning “at least once a month”.
Which is more, the strong claim that the research team has found “higher estimated cardiovascular risks associated with marijuana use than cigarette smoking” is based only on an observational point of view, which doesn’t conclude a specific cause and effect.
While there may be a link between hypertension mortality and marijuana use, this doesn’t necessarily mean that marijuana causes hypertension, as the study has not focused on these points.
These limitations make the study far from conclusive, but the indication that there is a possible link between cannabis use and hypertension should be looked into more closely. Scientists confirm that the heart is affected by cannabis, but with the insufficient research in this field, it’s hard to point to how exactly it does, and how it’s related to blood pressure.
However, as Francesca Filbey, Ph.D. notes that despite the important limitations, the link found in the study is an important area for future research. She says that future research should more thoroughly focus on how factors like BMI, other substance use, and other factors that can affect heart health could contribute to the outcome as well.
Source: Business Insider