MAY 01, 2021 5:53 PM PDT

Early Use of Cannabis Linked to Heart Disease

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

While the dangers of cigarette smoking to cardiovascular health are widely known, those for cannabis have been less researched. Now, researchers from the University of Guelph in Canada have found that people who smoke cannabis at an early age may have an increased risk of developing heart disease later on in life. 

For the study, the researchers recruited 35 healthy young participants, of whom 18 used cannabis and 17 did not. They examined each participant’s heart and arteries with ultrasound imaging. 

They honed in on three key criteria. The first was arterial stiffness, measured by how quickly a wave travelled down the artery. The second was cardiac function, or how the heart moves according to echocardiographic imaging. Meanwhile, the third was vascular function or how much the arteries expanded according to changing blood flow. 

In the end, the researchers found that cannabis users tended to have greater arterial stiffness than non-users. They also found that cannabis users had lower cardiac function than non-users. 

The researchers noted however that there was no difference between both groups in vascular function. This was surprising as cigarette smokers often experience lower vascular function, alongside lower cardiac function and stiffer arteries. 

While the reasons behind this discrepancy are unknown, Christian Cheung, lead author of the study, said that it may come as a result of the different ways in which tobacco and cannabis are consumed, how much and at what frequency cannabis is consumed, and the user’s age. 

"This is exciting new data, suggesting that even before more overt signs and symptoms of cardiovascular disease are present, there may be more subtle indications in altered physiological function," says Dr. Jamie Burr, one of the co-authors of the study. 

"It also paves the way to our next studies, aimed at understanding the direct effects of cannabis consumption, and how this may interact with common stressors of everyday life, like exercise."

 

Sources: EurekAlertGlobal NewsJournal of Applied Physiology 

About the Author
  • Science writer with a keen interest in behavioral biology, consciousness medicine and technology. Her current focus is how the interplay of these fields can create meaningful interactions, products and environments.
You May Also Like
OCT 29, 2020
Health & Medicine
Endocannabinoids Block Pathogenic Bacteria That Cause Gut Ailments in Mouse Study
OCT 29, 2020
Endocannabinoids Block Pathogenic Bacteria That Cause Gut Ailments in Mouse Study
Cannabis users have long reported, anecdotally, that the drug can ease gastrointestinal woes, including irritable bowel ...
NOV 19, 2020
Health & Medicine
Two Studies Raise Cannabis Heart Concerns
NOV 19, 2020
Two Studies Raise Cannabis Heart Concerns
Cannabis was under discussion at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2020 (held November 13&ndash ...
JAN 24, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Cannabis Compound CBD Shows Promise as Antibiotic
JAN 24, 2021
Cannabis Compound CBD Shows Promise as Antibiotic
Researchers from the University of Queensland, in collaboration with Botanix Pharmaceuticals Limited, have found that ca ...
FEB 24, 2021
Health & Medicine
CBG and CBD Cannabinoids Show Worth in Thwarting Glioblastoma Tumors
FEB 24, 2021
CBG and CBD Cannabinoids Show Worth in Thwarting Glioblastoma Tumors
With the average length of survival following diagnosis being only 16 months, a glioblastoma — malignant tumor aff ...
MAR 18, 2021
Health & Medicine
Cannabis Not as Promising as Hoped for PTSD
MAR 18, 2021
Cannabis Not as Promising as Hoped for PTSD
Medical marijuana is used fairly routinely as a treatment for veterans suffering with PTSD (post traumatic stress syndro ...
APR 12, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
How Long Does a Cannabis High Last?
APR 12, 2021
How Long Does a Cannabis High Last?
How long a cannabis high lasts can be very subjective. It is, however, an important matter when considering drug-driving ...
Loading Comments...