Study results show that cannabis use is linked to leg artery disease

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Introduction: The new research results

Recent research has uncovered a possible link between marijuana use and peripheral artery disease (PAD), a condition characterized by the build-up of plaque in the arteries, restricting blood flow to the limbs.

The study suggests that marijuana users may be three times more likely to develop PAD.

While this study is still preliminary, it raises concerns among users and underscores the importance of physicians asking about marijuana use when assessing risk factors in patients.

Understanding Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD).

PAD is a circulatory problem where narrowed arteries restrict blood flow to the extremities, typically the legs.

The narrowing is mainly caused by the accumulation of fatty deposits or plaque, leading to various health complications.

Cigarette smoking is considered an important risk factor for PAD. This new study suggests that marijuana could have a similar effect.

Study details

The study was conducted by Dr. Hirva Vyas of Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey and Dr. Harsh Jain, a resident at the Montefiore Health System in New York City.

The researchers used data from US National Inpatient Samples from 2016 to 2019.

Of the 30 million patients sampled, over 620,000 were marijuana users. Interestingly, more than 2,400 of these users also had PAD.

Revealing the link between marijuana and PAD

Although the study does not prove a causal relationship, it does show an association between marijuana use and an increased risk of PAD.

Even after adjusting for other variables, such as cigarette smoking, the risk remained elevated among marijuana users.

The researchers suspect that marijuana could affect blood clotting or affect peripheral vascular tone. However, the type of consumption was not considered in this study.

The researchers emphasize that the active ingredient in marijuana, THC, is metabolized differently when smoked than when consumed, which could potentially influence risk factors.

A word of caution

dr Robert Page, a professor in the clinical pharmacy and physical medicine departments at the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical campus in Denver, points out that this study only shows an association and not a cause-and-effect relationship.

Page, who was not involved in the study, emphasizes that while these results are significant, they do not provide a complete picture because marijuana administration route and other health risk factors were not taken into account.

Page explains that THC can affect blood platelets and lead to blood clots. In addition, similar to smoking cigarettes, smoking marijuana can produce carcinogens and tar, which can adversely affect blood vessels.

Both THC and cannabidiol (CBD) can potentially negatively affect the tone of the vasculature, Page added.

Implications and future directions

These findings could be particularly relevant for younger adults, who have been identified as being at increased risk of ischemic stroke and early first stroke.

Research also suggests a possible link between marijuana smoking and early heart attacks in young adults.

The study results underscore the need for healthcare providers to inquire about cannabinoid use during patient consultations.

Open, nonjudgmental conversations about marijuana use are critical to assessing the risk factors for both coronary and peripheral artery disease.

The research results will be formally presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Cardiocular Angiography & Interventions. Until then, these findings should be considered preliminary.

As understanding of the potential effects of marijuana use on cardiovascular health continues to grow, more comprehensive research is imperative.

If heart health is important to you, please read studies on a major cause of heart disease and how to remove plaques that cause heart attacks.

If you care about heart health, please read studies about it How eating eggs can help reduce the risk of heart diseaseAnd Vitamin K2 could help reduce the risk of heart disease.

The study will be presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Cardiocular Angiography & Interventions.

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