Regular marijuana use may raise the risk for heart attack, stroke, or heart failure — especially among people with other underlying health issues — according to two studies presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2023.
The first study found daily marijuana use raised a person’s risk of heart failure by about one-third, compared to people who never used marijuana.
The second study examined 28,535 marijuana users with existing cardiovascular risk factors — including high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol. It found:
- 20% had an increased chance of having a major heart or brain event while hospitalized.
- 13.9% of marijuana users with cardiovascular risk factors had a major adverse heart and brain event while hospitalized compared to non-users.
- Marijuana users had a higher rate of heart attacks.
- High blood pressure and high cholesterol were predictors of major heart and brain problems among marijuana users.
Experts also noted that smoking marijuana increases concentrations of carbon monoxide and tar in the human body much like tobacco — and that both tobacco and marijuana have been linked to heart disease, chest pain, heart rhythm disturbances, heart attacks, and other serious problems.
All of this underscores what we have said for years: Marijuana may be many things, but “harmless” simply is not one of them.