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Study links marijuana use to potential heart-related problems

By McClatchy News Services

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 09:15 a.m. HST, Apr 27, 2014

A patient could possess 4 ounces of medicinal marijuana and seven plants of any maturity under a bill passed by the Legislature this session. Current law allows for possession of 1 ounce, three mature plants and four immature plants.@Caption -- credit1:<*L*p(0,0,0,9,0,5.25,g(P,S))>Photos by New YOrk Times, above, Associated press, inset

Over a five-year period, a government-mandated tracking system in France showed that physicians in that country treated 1,979 patients for serious health problems associated with the use of marijuana, and nearly 2 percent of those encounters were with patients suffering from cardiovascular problems, including heart attack, cardiac arrhythmia and stroke, and circulation problems in the arms and legs. In roughly a quarter of those cases, the study found, the patient died.

In the United States, when young and otherwise healthy patients show up in emergency departments with symptoms of heart attack, stroke, cardiomyopathy and cardiac arrhythmia, physicians have frequently noted in case reports that these unusual patients are regular marijuana users.

Such reporting is hardly the basis for declaring marijuana use an outright cause of cardiovascular disease. But last week, cardiologists writing in the Journal of the American Heart Association warned that "clinical evidence ... suggests the potential for serious cardiovascular risks associated with marijuana use."

And with a growing movement to decriminalize marijuana use, they called for data-collection efforts capable of detecting and measuring marijuana's cardiovascular effect among American users of cannabis setiva. Voters in Washington and Colorado last year passed initiatives legalizing marijuana for recreational use, and pot advocates are proposing similar initiatives in other states.

"There is now compelling evidence on the growing risk of marijuana-associated adverse cardiovascular effects, especially in young people," said Emilie Jouanjus, lead author of the French study, which was also published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. That evidence, Jouanjus added, should prompt cardiologists to consider marijuana use a potential cause of cardiovascular disease in patients they see.

In an editorial published Wednesday in the American Heart Association journal, Drs. Sherief Rezkalla and Robert A. Kloner asked, "Do we really know enough about the cardiovascular effects of marijuana to feel comfortable about its use in patients with known cardiovascular disease or patients with cardiovascular risk factors," including obesity, sedentary behavior, high blood pressure and worrisome cholesterol numbers.

Rezkalla and Kloner combed the recent medical literature for animal experiments, observational studies and case reports linking marijuana use in close temporal proximity with cardiovascular events. They cited evidence that marijuana use probably increases clotting factors in the blood and that heavy marijuana use may lead to significant changes in the tiny vessels carrying blood to the heart and brain, such that even after clearance of a major blockage, blood flow remains impeded.

Aside from heart attacks and strokes, case studies linked recent marijuana use in patients seeking care for increased angina; ischemic ulcers and gangrene associated with blocked blood flow to extremities; and transient ischemic attacks, sometimes called "mini-strokes." These complaints often came from young patients who had no previous evidence of cardiovascular disease.

"We think the time has come to stop and think about what is the best way to protect our communities from the potential danger of widespread marijuana use in the absence of safety studies," added Rezkalla, a cardiologist at the Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin, and Kloner, a cardiologist at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine. "It is the responsibility of the medical community to determine the safety of the drug before it is widely legalized for recreational use."







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Oahuan wrote:
And regular use of alcohol leads to liver damage.
on April 27,2014 | 09:17AM
OldDiver wrote:
Excess sugar and saturated fats in the diet kills tens of thousands every year. In response the government bans weed.
on April 27,2014 | 12:37PM
KaneoheSJ wrote:
And regular smoking of cigarettes leads to heart attacks, lung cancer, COPD, hardening of the arteries, etc.
on April 27,2014 | 01:42PM
Lanikaula wrote:
Let's c da list with the REAL drugs: Rx=#1 KILLER, Alcohol & Tobacco WERE #1 & 2...ALL LEGAL KILLERS 4 generations! Beeeg $$$$$ for Corporate america!! Bunch of Hypocrites!!
on April 27,2014 | 09:38AM
Macadamiamac wrote:
... and regular reading of this rag, leads to joining the tea party.
on April 27,2014 | 09:43AM
Smokee wrote:
It's what people tend to eat after that caused the heart attack and strokes. Not the marijuana.
on April 27,2014 | 10:45AM
soundofreason wrote:
Gee, seems a few people are upset that this is now the second study in recent weeks that don't support their claims of marijuana isn't harmful.
on April 27,2014 | 10:45AM
Bdpapa wrote:
:))
on April 27,2014 | 10:58AM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
Marijuana has been around for a long time, if it caused heart attacks it would be well documented and known by now. Just as liver damage from Alcohol use is well documented. Marijuana has been the subject of endless studies since the early 20th century, if it killed you we would know about it.
on April 27,2014 | 01:05PM
KaneoheSJ wrote:
Your twisted reasoning is illogical. I am not a proponent of marijuana use. I am just stating that we focus on marijuana but yet we have two of the most destructive products on hand that are legal. If you can figure that out, maybe you can deduce that some of us are just fed up with the hypocrisy which your mental capability can't seem to understand.
on April 27,2014 | 01:46PM
soundofreason wrote:
Maybe we are starting to learn from our past mistakes.....not to repeat and compound them....maybe?
on April 27,2014 | 07:39PM
BIG wrote:
give me a break already...anti's
on April 27,2014 | 11:21AM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
"In the United States, when young and otherwise healthy patients show up in emergency departments with symptoms of heart attack, stroke, cardiomyopathy and cardiac arrhythmia, physicians have frequently noted in case reports that these unusual patients are regular marijuana users."

Hey SA, can you lay off the reefer madness?

The "symptoms of heart attack, stroke, cardiomyopathy and cardiac arrhythmia" are also THE SYMPTOMS OF A PANIC ATTACK !! something that marijuana IS known to make worse. This is terrible, terrible reporting.

There is zero evidence that marijuana causes heart attacks, strokes, cardiomyopathies and cardiac arrhythmias. None. Zilch, Zippo, Nada.


on April 27,2014 | 11:22AM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
And here's an article from webMD that helps debunk this bad, hysterical "science."

http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20140423/pot-smoking-may-pose-heart-dangers-study-suggests

Basically the French study didn't compare the marijuana users who experienced cardiac events like heart attack and stroke with nonusers. Seriously, look again. They didn't do that. A middle school science fair has more stringent criteria than that.

Because there was no control group, this study tell us NOTHING about the risk of marijuana user developing heart problems. In fact, if they had included a control group might actually reveal that marijuana is protective against heart disease.

This study is badly flawed. All it really tells us is that in France, some people came to the ER with cardiac problem and had smoked marijuana in the recent past. That's all.


on April 27,2014 | 11:41AM
kolohepalu wrote:
Excellent. Thank you.
on April 27,2014 | 04:15PM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
And here's an article from webMD that helps debunk this bad, hysterical "science."

(the SA isn't letting me post WebMD link so you'll have to look for yourself. Google "french marijuana study" and you'll find it.)

Basically the French study didn't compare the marijuana users who experienced cardiac events like heart attack and stroke with nonusers. Seriously, look again. They didn't do that. A middle school science fair has more stringent criteria than that.

Because there was no control group, this study tell us NOTHING about the risk of marijuana user developing heart problems. In fact, if they had included a control group might actually reveal that marijuana is protective against heart disease.

This study is badly flawed. All it really tells us is that in France, some people came to the ER with cardiac problems and had smoked marijuana in the recent past. That's all.


on April 27,2014 | 11:43AM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
If there were any real health risk from using MJ, we would know it by now. It's been around for a long, long time.
on April 27,2014 | 01:08PM
thos wrote:
Ain't it amazin' how fast the dopers among us rise to the bait to defend their degenerate habit? My my my.
on April 27,2014 | 12:00PM
Bdpapa wrote:
Its actually entertaining!
on April 27,2014 | 01:15PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
Thos - I'd bet my bottom dollar you drink some form of alcohol. That would make you the real "degenerate". Hypocrite too since alcohol is proven beyond doubt to be far worse in just about every way.
on April 27,2014 | 01:25PM
KaneoheSJ wrote:
See my above post to lackofreason
on April 27,2014 | 01:47PM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
How do you feel about alcohol? Do you consider that a degenerate habit too?

You know alcohol causes brain, heart, and kidney damage, and leads to broken homes and beat up spouses.


on April 27,2014 | 03:08PM
Usagi336 wrote:
I'm no doper. I don't use but I don't want the government or anyone else trying to tell me what I can and cannot do if it doesn't harm anybody. Show us some real proof. If the government ever had a study that found weed to be harmless, would you think they would let us hear about it? Pass the Kool Aid around to your friends.
on April 28,2014 | 08:16AM
honopic wrote:
Did they take the time to find out if the marijuana smokers in this study also smoked cigarettes, drank alcohol, ate fatty foods, shunned exercise, watched multiple hours of TV, or had other health problems? And look at the numbers: 1,979 people were tracked over a 5-year period, "NEARLY 2%" suffered cardiovacular problems (39.5 people) and "roughly a quarter" of those (9.8) died. In five years? More people likely die in car crashes in a month. Here's a relevant statistic: tobacco kills 73,000 people a year in France. Where's the outrage about that?
on April 27,2014 | 03:21PM
GoldenRule wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on April 27,2014 | 03:42PM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
GoldenRule wrote: That's great that MJ kills. The kinds of folks who enjoy it deserve the unhealthy lifestyle.

There's still no evidence that marijuana kills. All this junk study showed was some people who came to the emergency room with strokes and heart had used marijuana recently. Because they didn't use a control group, we have no idea if those people were over or under represented.

For example, imagine a story published with the headline "Study links Toyota drivers with deadly accidents." Then you read the story only to discover that they all try found was that some toyotas had been involved in fatal,accidents, but they didn't say how many other kinds of cars were. Would that be helpful to you? What is it turned out that Toyota drivers were more careful and the cars safer, but they were still involved in car wrecks but at a rate far lower than other drivers?

Do you understand why this study is so worthless? If you are interested in banning things that we know for sure are unhealthy, besides alcohol and cigarettes, I assume you want to ban gravy, loco mocos, red meat, soda, and walking around without sunscreen on. Those things are known to cause disease. Marijuana still isn't.


on April 27,2014 | 04:37PM
HD36 wrote:
Smoke mj for about 15 years. Took a blood test that looks for a certain protein that indicates heart diseases. Dr said my heart should last untill I'm 120 years old. Could be because I used to love working out after smoking mj, not eating twinkies and hot dogs watching tv for hours.
on April 27,2014 | 06:47PM
kolohepalu wrote:
To SA staff: take some journalistic responsibility and actually read and consider the information in an article before you put a headline on it. The French "study" did not "link" marijuana to anything- only observed whether a certain subset of patients were marijuana users or not. Junk science. Junk newspaper.
on April 27,2014 | 04:25PM
Wahiawamauka wrote:
Is it possible that marijuana may be bad for someone? Sure. Drinking too much alcohol bad for you? Sure. Eating hamburgers and red meat bad for you? Sure. ETC..... The government must stop controlling people's lives. And the funny thing is, the government does it with the help of some niele neighbors who wave the flag and preach that we all live in a free country.
on April 27,2014 | 06:31PM
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