Medical marijuana may be a great source of treatment for patients suffering from various conditions and illnesses living, but the plant may also be a cause of a very serious and life-threatening medical condition: heart failure.
Researchers at Philadelphia’s Einstein Medical Center said there is a connection between marijuana use and increased cardiac risks, such as strokes, according to findings from a new study released Thursday. After reviewing patients’ health records from 1,000 hospitals, researchers discovered people who use marijuana had a 26 percent greater chance of suffering a stroke, compared to those who did not use marijuana. People who used cannabis also had 10 percent higher risk of heart failure.
Health records reviewed included patients ages 18 to 55 that visited hospitals between 2009 and 2010.
The study was scheduled to be released in full by March 18.
Einstein cardiologist, Dr. Aditi Kalla, who worked on the study, told CBS News marijuana appeared to have a direct impact on the heart.
“When cannabis affects human heart cells those cells are less able to squeeze and therefore the heart as a whole is not able to pump as well,” she explained.
The study did not consider the quantity or frequency of cannabis consumed by patients, and because the research was heavily based on hospital discharge records, Kalla suggested that the findings may not actually be conducive to the general population.
However, Kalla said more research needed to be conducted to learn more about marijuana’s side effects just as doctors have learned about the side effects of other drugs and medications that are prescribed as a form of treatment.
Marijuana has also been linked to various other ailments, including memory loss. A 2016 study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal said people who smoked marijuana on a daily basis for five years or more were more likely to suffer from cognitive disabilities in their middle ages, including lack of memory focus and the ability to make quick decisions.