The prevalence of marijuana use has risen steadily for the past decade, reaching approximately 200 million consumers worldwide. At the same time, marijuana has been shown in both laboratory and clinical research studies to alter blood pressure and heart function. However, the long-term effects of marijuana use on cardiovascular health in patients remain under debate with insufficient studies and analyses.
To elucidate the impact marijuana consumption has on the risk of cardiovascular disease, physicians at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, Miami conducted a study on a large group of people representative of the US population. Answers these participants provided on their marijuana consumption and cardiovascular health, as well as potential confounders were gathered from the Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) database cultivated by the CDC in 2017.
The researchers found that after adjusting for potential confounders such as age, gender, race/ethnicity, body mass index, income, exercise, tobacco use, alcohol use, and depression, there exists no significant association between marijuana use and cardiovascular disease. They acknowledged, however, that some participants did not fully answer all questions concerning cardiovascular disease and marijuana use in the BRFSS questionnaire. This decreased the sample size from the original 67,974 total participants to the final 56,742 subjects included in analyses, which may have impacted statistical significance of the results. This, together with conflicting evidence found by other researchers highlights the continued need for further research into the effects of marijuana use on cardiovascular diseases.