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Smoking Marijuana Triples Risk Of High Blood Pressure Death, Study Says

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Co-lead researcher Barbara Yankey from Georgia State University's School of Public Health says the results are consistent with the known risks of marijuana use since it stimulates the sympathetic nervous system which increases heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen demand.

During 2005-06, these participants were asked whether they had used marijuana ever and the ones who answered "yes" were considered as users of marijuana. Over 19,569 person-years of follow-up, the adjusted hazard ratios for death from hypertension among marijuana users was 3.42 (95% confidence interval, 1.20 to 9.79), compared to non-marijuana users, with and adjusted hazard ratio of 1.04 for each year of marijuana use (95% confidence interval, 1.00 to 1.07). Whereas the participants who reported the age when they first tried marijuana was subtracted from their current age to calculate the duration of use.

"Prolonged marijuana use may increase the risk of hypertension [high blood pressure] mortality", she said. As per the findings that published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology among a total of 1,213 participants, marijuana users had a higher risk of dying from hypertension. Additionally, the risk was shown to increase by four percent for every year of recreational marijuana usage.

Amazingly, the authors commented that the cardiovascular risk associated with marijuana use might be greater than the cardiovascular risk already established for cigarette smoking. In light of the debate over whether or not to legalize marijuana, Okosun explained, "the same way we have been very prudent to look into cigarette smoking, we should also be very prudent about ascertaining whether or not patients use marijuana". The study said there was no relationship between pot use and heart disease or cerebrovascular problems like strokes.

Yankey pointed out that there were limitations to the way marijuana use was estimated. But, this needs examination in a larger research, as the number of smokers in this study was only few.

Marijuana was found to be more damaging for heart health than tobacco.

Previous research has also shown that marijuana does increase the risk of stress-induced cardiomyopathy, lending weight to the growing evidence of the extended use of the drug and increased risk of cardiac injury-albeit more research is essential. "However, recreational use of marijuana should be approached with caution". "If marijuana use is implicated in cardiovascular diseases and deaths, then it rests on the health community and policy makers to protect the public".