Study finds link between cannabis use and heart failure, stroke

Cardiologist Aditi Kalla stressed to us that she absolutely believes there are medical benefits to cannabis, including providing pain relief, treating nausea and other symptoms, although the Cardiology Fellow at Philadelphia’s Einstein Medical Center has just presented a study which links marijuana use to an increased risk of stroke and heart failure.

“It’s important for physicians to know these effects so we can better educate patients, such as those who are inquiring about the safety of cannabis or even asking for a prescription for cannabis,” said Kalla who presented her study, “Cannabis Use Predicts Risks of Heart Failure and Cerebrovascular Accidents: Results from the National Inpatient Sample,” on Saturday at the American College of Cardiology’s 66th Annual Scientific Session in Washington.

Her study researched records from men and women between 18 and 55 who were discharged from hospitals nationwide in 2009-2010. Comparing cardiovascular disease rates in these patients to disease rates in patients not reporting marijuana use, researchers found marijuana use was independently associated with a 26 percent increase in the risk of stroke and a 10 percent increase in the risk of developing heart failure.

“We were just looking to get the ball rolling. These are basic studies that are done on any drug. We are not an anti-cannabis study,” Dr. Kalla told Elevated Nation.

“Neither myself nor anyone involved has any political agenda. Our study was not funded by any industry or government agency. We hoped to share this with our medical peers and hopefully inspire additional research in cannabis,” Dr. Kalla said. “It’s here. We need to accept it and start figuring out safety measures.”

Kalla compared her study to those done on household drugs such as Tylenol or ibuprofen. “We know both are used to treat pain, and both are effective, but what scientists learned is that Tylenol affects the liver and ibuprofen affects the kidneys,” Dr. Kalla said. “That was found through studies like mine. You know dose limitations and you can tell people to look for potential side effects. We just want to be able to do the same thing for cannabis,” said Dr. Kalla who believes more research and education is needed on cannabis, especially for doctors who are being asked to recommend it.



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