Marijuana use is associated with a heightened risk of myocardial injury among individuals with no prior history of cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to new findings published in the American Journal of Cardiology.
“Multiple observational studies have demonstrated an association with cannabis use and acute myocardial infarction, especially among young adults,” wrote lead author Travis M. Skipina, MD, of the department of internal medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine, and colleagues. “However, little is known about the connection with subclinical or electrocardiographic myocardial injury.”
Skipina et al. explored data from nearly 3,500 adult participants from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Patients with a history of CVD were not included in this analysis. While 26% of participants had a history of marijuana use, 15.5% had myocardial injury, as identified by electrocardiographic findings. The researchers worked to identify any connections between the two that they could find.
Overall, cannabis users had a 43% greater chance of myocardial injury compared to individuals who have never used it. This link was especially apparent when participants also had a history of hypertension.
“This is a novel finding that underscores the harmful effects of cannabis use on CV health and highlights the need for further, controlled studies regarding cannabis and CV disease as the drug becomes more accepted by the general population,” the authors concluded. “Additionally, the finding of effect modification by co-existent hypertension merits a personalized risk assessment when counseling patients on cannabis use.”