Describing the study, lead author Barbara Yankey said: 'Steps are being taken towards legalisation and decriminalisation of marijuana in the United States, and rates of recreational marijuana use may increase substantially as a result.
The study observed 1,200 participants over 20 years, finding that subjects who reported using marijuana were more at risk.
The study revealed that of the 1,200 people tested, those who smoked pot were 3.4 times more likely to die from hypertension. Whereas the participants who reported the age when they first tried marijuana was subtracted from their current age to calculate the duration of use.
Even more surprising, the researchers suggest that marijuana use may be a greater risk factor for poor heart health than smoking tobacco.
Marijuana users had a higher risk of dying from hypertension.
Marijuana stimulates the sympathetic nervous system that led to increases in heart rate blood pressure and oxygen demand.
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"Compared with no marijuana use, cumulative lifetime and recent marijuana use showed no association with incident CVD [cardiovascular disease], stroke, or transient ischemic attacks, coronary heart disease, or CVD mortality", the authors of that study wrote. The researchers said that the cardiovascular risk associated with marijuana use may be greater than the cardiovascular risk already established for cigarette smoking.
"We found no association between cannabis and cardiovascular risks [e.g., high blood pressure, higher cholesterol], which may appear at odds with evidence that cannabis use increases risk for cardiovascular complications", the authors wrote.
Results suggest marijuana use is more risky for heart health than cigarettes, despite certain campaigners insisting cannabis is safer than tobacco. But, this needs examination in a larger research, as the number of smokers in this study was only few. Nor were there differences in in risks of mortality stemming from heart- or cerebrovascular-disease. Marijuana "experts" not involved in the study said the results should be replicated in other studies.
According to Okosun, "The take-home message is that marijuana use may be. associated with cardiovascular diseases, but the verdict is really not out yet because we are still accumulating information and data".
This risk increases by more than one time for every year of cannabis use, a study found.