Young, healthy adults who smoke marijuana may face a heightened risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) later in life, according to new findings published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.
“This is an exciting field of research given the ubiquity of cannabis use and the knowledge gap that exists, it’s a field ripe with opportunity,” lead author Christian Cheung, a PhD student at the University of Guelph in Canada, said in a prepared statement.
Cheung et al. tracked data from 35 adults between the ages of 19 and 30. Half of the cohort were marijuana users. Researchers used ultrasound imaging to examine each participant’s heart and arteries, recording such measurements as arterial stiffness and arterial function.
Co-author Jamie F. Burr, PhD, a professor at the University of Guelph, noted that the team’s findings suggest “that even before more overt signs and symptoms of CVD are present, there may be more subtle indications in altered physiological function.”
“It also paves the way to our next studies, aimed at understanding the direct effects of cannabis consumption, and how this may interact with common stressors of everyday life, like exercise,” he said.