Researchers analyzed 1,979 patients with marijuana-related complications after the individuals had self-reported that they had taken and/or abused the substance. Nearly two percent, or 35, of those patients experienced cardiovascular complications. Nine of those patients died.
A majority of the patients were male. The average age was 34-years-old –a population not typically associated with developing heart disease without other risk factors.
“This was an interesting report in that it actually identifies that there are patients who develop complications from marijuana that are quite serious and can be even fatal, and cardiovascular complications are actually not that uncommon,” says Sahil Parikh, MD, cardiologist at University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio.
Experts say it’s still difficult to identify how drugs like marijuana affect the cardiovascular system because researchers have yet to identify a direct contributing factor.
Dr. Parikh says as the government develops a legal structure for marijuana usage, both medically and recreationally, creating an infrastructure that mandates patients who are admitted to the hospital to disclose marijuana use may potentially help further identify the substance’s effect on the body.
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