Ask the Doctors: High blood pressure and marijuana use -- what to know

Wednesday, 15 November 2017, 04:24:49 AM. A recent study does highlight that marijuana users had a higher rate of high blood pressure.
Dear Doctor: Can marijuana use really increase the risk of high blood pressure, as a recent study suggests? I thought marijuana was supposed to make you relax. Dear Reader: If you’ll recall, there was a time when smoking tobacco was similarly touted as a healthy way to relax. Only after years of study and national educational campaigns did the public began to realize the detriments of tobacco. Today, in the desire to legalize marijuana, proponents have focused on its potential health benefits. That doesn’t mean it has no negative effects. In fact, smoking marijuana leads to an increase in heart rate, increased contraction of the heart and a small increase in blood pressure. The 2017 European Journal of Preventive Cardiology study you mentioned attempted to quantify these negative effects. The data used in the study come from a national survey in 2005 in which people over the age of 20 were asked: “Have you ever used marijuana or hashish?” Participants who answered “yes” were termed “marijuana users.” The authors also asked the year that people first used marijuana, from which they calculated total years of use. The authors then looked at mortality data from 1991 to 2011. In this study, 56.5 percent of the 1,213 eligible participants were qualified as marijuana users. Note that 63 percent of these “users” also had a history of smoking tobacco. The overall death rate of marijuana users was 29.7 percent, while in non-users the rate was 26.2 percent. The authors found that the...Read more
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