Marijuana Use Can Weaken Heart Muscle, Says Study

Posted: Nov 13 2016, 9:30pm CST | by , Updated: Nov 14 2016, 10:13pm CST, in News | Latest Science News

 

Marijuana Use can Weaken Heart Muscle, Says Study
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Active marijuana users are twice as likely to develop a rare heart condition that affects heart muscles.

Frequent marijuana use may lead to a weakened heart muscle, particularly in young men, a new study suggests.

Researchers have found that people who use marijuana regularly may double the risk of a rare heart condition called stress cardiomyopathty. The condition is characterized by a weakened heart muscle that affects heart’s ability to pump and cause chest pain, dizziness and shortness of breath. Though, the symptoms of stress cardiomyopathy are usually temporary but could indicate more serious trouble like heart attack.

The study raises concerns about legalization of marijuana in U.S. as many states are planning to loosen up laws on marijuana use for recreational purposes.

“The effects of marijuana, especially on the cardiovascular system, are not well known yet. With its increasing availability and legalization in some states, people need to know that marijuana may be harmful to the heart and blood vessels in some people.” Study co-author Amitoj Singh from St. Luke's University Health Network in Pennsylvania said in a statement.

Researchers examined the data of more than 33,000 people who were hospitalized with stress caridomyopathy between 2003 and 2011 in United States and found that 210 of them were also marijuana users. 

Those who were marijuana users and had stress caridomyopathy were mostly young and more likely to be male. They also showed fewer cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol compared to those who were not using marijuana too often. Still, active marijuana users were more likely to suffer heart attack as well as mental disorders like depression, anxiety and psychosis. 

“Even though these young people had less cardiac risk factors, they still had high cardiac risk," said Singh. “Someone who uses marijuana is almost two times more likely to develop stress cardiomyopathy.”

The study, however, has some limitations. For instance, researchers could not determine how frequently participants were using marijuana and how much time they took to show the symptoms of the condition. 

Sahil Agrawal, another researcher involved in the study says. “The development of stress cardiomyopathy in younger patients who used marijuana suggests a possible link that needs to be further investigated.”

The study was presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2016.

 

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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