Using marijuana every day can raise a person’s risk of coronary artery disease, or CAD, by a third compared with those who never partake, a new study found.
“A growing body of evidence suggests that cannabis is not entirely without harm and may actually cause cardiovascular disease,” said lead study author Dr. Ishan Paranjpe, a resident physician at Stanford University. The study — which has not yet been published -— will be presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology.
When enrolling in the study, participants completed a survey on their cannabis use. The research team used that information to place those who responded into five categories: Daily users (4,736 people), weekly users (2,720), monthly users (2,075), those who used once or twice in three months (8,749) and those who never used (39,678 people). The researchers then compared those categories with participants’ medical records a few years later.
They found that daily cannabis users were 34% more likely to be diagnosed with coronary artery disease than those who had never used the drug.
People who used weed only once a month or less had no significant risk, the study found.
The results held true even after researchers factored out other potential causes of coronary heart disease, such as age, sex and major cardiovascular risk factors — high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, obesity, smoking and alcohol use.