Smoking weed at least once a month is linked to an elevated risk of heart attack, according to a new study among nearly 160,000 people in the U.K.
The research, published in the journal Cell, looked at more than 11,000 people between the ages 40 and 69 who smoked weed at least once a month. The scientists then compared that group to 122,000 people in the same age bracket who did not smoke weed and nearly 23,000 more who smoked less frequently.
The study authors controlled for age, gender, and body mass index — three factors that influence the risk of heart disease — and found that people who smoked weed frequently were more likely than people who did not have a first heart attack before age 50. One heart attack increases the lifelong risk of having another or developing heart failure.
The findings align with other similar research. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention already warns that smoking weed could lead to an increased risk of heart disease. A 2021 study identified an association between heart attacks and cannabis use in young adults. But the new study goes a step further since it also attempts to figure out why smoking weed can lead to heart problems.
To investigate that, the researchers studied how THC affects both human stem cells and mice stem cells. It’s already known that THC binds with a receptor in the brain when people smoke weed, which gives the feeling of being high. The team found that THC also binds to that receptor in blood vessels in their lab studies.
So the researchers suggested that using THC frequently could activate that receptor in a way that leads to inflammation in blood vessels, which can accelerate a buildup of plaque in the arteries that can lead to a heart attack.
“The public has this perception — in my opinion, misperception — that marijuana is completely safe, and it’s healthy for you. But in reality, this study shows a high dose of THC, the main component of marijuana, causes vascular inflammation,” said Joseph Wu, the study’s senior author and the director of the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute.
Still, that part of the research wasn’t on people, so the results mostly point to an avenue for further investigation rather than a direct implication for human health. Wu said human studies could offer more insight into whether THC is directly linked to heart disease.
What do you think about this study? Let us know in the comments!
I’m 66 yes old started smoking bud at 14 Guess what no heart attack before 50 get your facts from humans not mice