For the past decade, the public perception of marijuana has changed quite a bit. With legalization measures and a general acceptance across the states, many people assume that it is no longer a harmful drug. Well the truth of the matter is, there are still certain risks associated with using cannabis; particularly when it comes to your heart.
The American Heart Association recently shared a recommendation that advised people to avoid smoking marijuana. Their research pointed a rise in heart attacks and fatal strokes for chronic users over an elongated period of time.
Dr. Rose Marie Robinson, the AHA’s deputy chief medical and science officer, spoke about the findings to CNN.
“The American Heart Association recommends that people not smoke or vape any substance, including cannabis products, because of the potential harm to the heart, lungs and blood vessels,” she explained. “Part of the results we found showed that cannabis smoke contains components similar to tobacco smoke.”
The research went on to say that oral and topical forms of cannabis are better health-wise, but do have the potential to harm a person’s heart. It was also noted that marijuana has the potential to interfere with prescribed medications, which could create additional health risks for people with existing conditions.
And for the record, the AHA researchers put a lot of time and effort into this study. They dissected everything from heart rhythm abnormalities (such as tachycardia and atrial fibrillation), to artery walls, to blood pressure alterations when monitoring chronic marijuana smokers.
The warning was emphasized even more for people who may have pre-existing heart conditions. And, as a next step, high level AHA executives are reaching out to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s tobacco control and prevention team. They believe that there should be even stricter restrictions for marijuana sales across the U.S.
And, on that note, pharmacologist Robert Page II (who also participated in the AHA study) believes that further research is needed to understand just how damaging marijuana can be on the body’s cardiovascular system.