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Marijuana associated with threefold risk of death from hypertension

Marijuana associated with threefold risk of death from hypertension

12-19 | CDAH Team

Though numerous studies have corroborated the thin line connecting cannabis with schizophrenia and psychosis, other afflictions associated with marijuana have received very less attention. Due to the increased focus on the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes, the impact of marijuana on one’s physical health is often overlooked compared to other drugs.  Besides mental health, marijuana abuse also leads to increased rate of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular mortality.

Although disorders due to pot use are rising, very few individuals seek treatment for such conditions. Moreover, there is no sign of improvement in the usage rate in the past few years. Being one of the widely used illicit drugs after prescription painkillers in the United States, the rate of cannabis abuse has skyrocketed to nearly 24 million Americans, aged 12 or older, in 2016.

Despite knowing the adversities associated with cannabis abuse, people often find it hard to quit the drug. The active psychoactive component delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) present in cannabis impairs a user’s cognition and motor coordination skills. Furthermore, people abusing marijuana run an increased risk of developing a range of long-term health-related issues like:

  • A depressed immune system that may lead to low resistance to common illnesses like cold, flu and bronchitis
  • Hindrance in the development of the brain
  • Abnormal cell structure and cell division
  • Respiratory problems
  • Changes in mood and cognitive-behavioral skills
  • Weak sexual functioning and reduced sexual desire
  • Emotional and psychological issues, such as lack of motivation, depression, and an increased risk for the development of psychosis and schizophrenia in later years

Hypertension, a health risk of marijuana abuse

The health effects of marijuana are far from conclusive. To evaluate whether marijuana is a trigger for the onset of hypertension, researchers from the Georgia State University conducted a study published in the journal European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

Due to the lack of extensive information on weed use, researchers designed a retrospective investigation of  the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) participants who were aged 20 years and above. In 2005-2006, the participants who accepted using marijuana when inquired as to whether they had ever used marijuana were considered as marijuana users.

Based on their age when they first had their encounter with cannabis, the study authors subtracted their current age to determine the span of their utilization. Furthermore, the data on weed use was merged with mortality information in 2011 from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

Subsequently, researchers assessed the relationship between marijuana use, and its duration, with death cropping up due to hypertension, coronary illnesses and cerebrovascular diseases. They also analyzed other determining elements like cigarette use and demographic factors like sex, age and ethnicity. Though death due to hypertension was caused due to numerous causes, such as primary hypertension and hypertensive renal disease, the risk of succumbing to hypertension was comparatively higher in the case of marijuana users.

Based on the examination of 1,213 participants, the researchers found that marijuana users possessed 3.42-times higher risk of death from hypertension and a 1.04 greater risk for each year of use. The lead author Barbara A. Yankey, a Ph.D. student in the School of Public Health, Georgia State University, Atlanta said that while assessing these reports they found that marijuana users had a greater than threefold risk of death from hypertension and the risk increased with each additional year of use. She further quoted, “This indicates that marijuana use may carry even heavier consequences on the cardiovascular system than that already established for cigarette smoking. However, the number of smokers in our study was small and this needs to be examined in a larger study.”

Shun marijuana to avoid hazardous health issues

Often termed as ‘the gateway to other drugs,’ the abuse of cannabis or cannabis-related products can eventually pave way for chronic drug use. Moreover, a range of withdrawal symptoms like changes in mood, insomnia, irritability, anxiety or depression, changes in appetite, etc. are likely to trigger cravings that pose troubles in seeking sobriety.

If you know someone who needs help in eliminating hashish from his or her life, you can contact the Colorado Drug Addiction Helpline to access the much-needed information on the right kind of treatment. If you wish to know about the best drug rehab in Colorado, call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-218-7546 or chat with our experts to get connected to one of the finest addiction treatment centers in Colorado.

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