A report by the American College of Cardiology says that smoking marijuana can cause many of the same cardiovascular health problems as smoking cigarettes.
The report published on Monday also found that certain cardiovascular medications, such as statins and blood thinners, when used with marijuana, can change the effectiveness or potency of the medications and cause excessive bleeding or blood pressure to drastically drop because statin levels or levels of blood thinner, such as warfarin, can rise.
“Some observational studies have suggested an association between marijuana and a range of cardiovascular risks,” said lead author Dr. Muthiah Vaduganathan, cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, in a statement.
“We also know that marijuana is becoming increasingly potent. Our review suggests that smoking marijuana carries many of the same cardiovascular health hazards as smoking tobacco. While the level of evidence is modest, there’s enough data for us to advise caution in using marijuana for our highest-risk patients, including those who present with a heart attack or new arrhythmia, or who have been hospitalized with heart failure.”
The report noted that more than 2 million Americans who have reported ever using marijuana have cardiovascular disease.
Cardiovascular health also depends on how marijuana is ingested, with smoking the drug carrying the largest risks similar to smoking tobacco, as opposed to consuming edible marijuana products.
The review recommend cardiologists screen their patients for marijuana use, and ask them how they consume it, how much they use, and how often.
“Now that we have seen marijuana use become more popular than tobacco smoking, we need more rigorous research, including randomized clinical trials, to explore the effects of marijuana on cardiovascular health,” Vaduganathan said.