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Home Home Wellness News Is Pot Linked to Blood Pressure Deaths?
Is Pot Linked to Blood Pressure Deaths?
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Continued

However, the researchers found no association between marijuana use and death from either heart disease or stroke.

And they found no proof that marijuana caused deaths attributed to high blood pressure.

Yankey said the sample size of her study was too small to capture the associations between pot use and specific heart-related conditions such as stroke.

"We are saying the primary cause is hypertension, but hypertension is an underlying cause of many chronic diseases," Yankey said.

Marijuana possibly could increase blood pressure due to its active ingredient, THC, which intoxicates people but also interacts with receptors in the central nervous system and the cardiovascular system, Yankey said.

Lawrence said that's a plausible reason why marijuana might affect blood pressure. But he added that this study has too many problems to effectively prove an association.

The study relied on people's self-reporting of marijuana use, at a time when only a handful of states had legalized medical marijuana and none had approved recreational use, Lawrence said.

This self-reporting did not include any information about the amount of marijuana people used, or how long they had used it, Lawrence said.

"Everything in life is dose-dependent and duration-dependent, and those kind of questions are not answered in a study like this," Lawrence pointed out.

There's also no way to tell whether a person had been using other drugs that could affect their blood pressure, or whether their pot was laced with another substance, Lawrence added.

"It could be these elevations in blood pressure are a manifestation of marijuana being laced with other things that are more cardio-stimulating," Lawrence said. "There are so many unknowns."

Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML, an advocacy group calling for the reform of marijuana laws, said it has been established that cannabis can influence blood pressure. Therefore, he said, "it is reasonable to advise that certain potential high-risk populations may wish to refrain from cannabis inhalation because of these concerns."

However, Armentano noted that other studies have found no link between marijuana use and heart-related diseases.

"Based upon the findings of prior studies, the [new study] authors' interpretation with regard to the degree of this risk potential appears to be sensational, and the methods used in this particular study appear to be highly questionable," Armentano said.

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