A study found that people who used marijuana on a daily basis were about one-third more likely to develop coronary artery disease (CAD) than people who never used the drug.
CAD is the most common type of heart disease and occurs when the arteries that supply blood to the heart narrow due to cholesterol buildup. Chest pain, shortness of breath, and fatigue are common symptoms of CAD, which can lead to a heart attack.
“We found that cannabis use is linked to CAD, and there seems to be a dose-response relationship in that more frequent cannabis use is associated with a higher risk of CAD,” said Stanford University lead author Ishan Paranjpe.
“In terms of the public health message, it shows that there are probably certain harms of cannabis use that weren’t recognised before, and people should take that into account,” he added.
The study included 175,000 participants. According to the findings, daily cannabis users were 34% more likely to have CAD than those who had never used marijuana.
Monthly cannabis use, on the other hand, was not associated with a significant increase in the risk of CAD.
According to the findings, it is critical for people to be aware that cannabis use is not without risk and to notify their doctor if they use cannabis so that clinicians can take appropriate steps to monitor their heart health.
The findings could lead to new interventions to prevent or treat heart disease by helping to better understand the molecular pathways involved in marijuana use and heart disease.
“From a scientific standpoint, these findings are exciting because they suggest there might be new drug targets and mechanisms we can explore to take control of this pathway going forward,” Paranjpe said.
The study was presented at the Annual Scientific Session of the American College of Cardiology.