Daily weed smokers 25% more likely to have heart attack, 42% higher stroke risk: AHA

A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that those who use cannabis on a daily basis have a much higher chance of having a heart attack or stroke compared to those who don't use it.
A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that those who use cannabis on a daily basis have a much higher chance of having a heart attack or stroke compared to those who don't use it.

There’s new evidence to help clear the air on cannabis.

A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association and funded by the National Institutes of Health found that those who smoke weed daily are at a significantly higher risk of suffering heart attack and stroke than those who don’t.

“We know that toxins are released when cannabis is burned, similar to those found in tobacco smoke,” said Abra Jeffers, a data analyst at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and former researcher at the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco, where the study was based.

Using marijuana on a daily basis drastically increases your chances of developing a heart condition, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. Getty Images/iStockphoto
Using marijuana on a daily basis drastically increases your chances of developing a heart condition, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. Getty Images/iStockphoto

“We’ve known for a long time that smoking tobacco is linked to heart disease, and this study is evidence that smoking cannabis appears to also be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death in the United States,” Jeffers’ statement continued. “Cannabis use could be an important, underappreciated source of heart disease.”

Researchers analyzed data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 434,104 American adults aged 18 to 74 between 2016 and 2020. About 4% were daily cannabis users, 7% used the drug about five days a month and 88.9% had not used any marijuana in the past 30 days.

Among current users, about three-fourths said they mostly smoked the drug.

“Cannabis use is increasing in both prevalence and frequency, while conventional tobacco smoking is declining,” said Dr. Salomeh Keyhani, a professor of medicine at UCSF and senior author of the study, in a separate statement. “Cannabis use by itself might, over time, become the more important risk factor.”

Keyhani’s report showed that people who inhaled cannabis via combustion were 25% more likely to have a heart attack than those who didn’t use the drug at all. The daily habit also increased their chances of having a stroke by 42%.

The likelihood of experiencing a cardiovascular condition was much lower for non-daily users but still higher than for those who did not use marijuana at all.

Those who used the drug sporadically had a 3% increased risk for heart attack compared with nonusers and a 5% increase for stroke.

“This is an important public health finding, particularly given our ongoing efforts to reduce the burden of heart disease in this country,” said Dr. David Goff, director of the Division of Cardiovascular Sciences at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, in a statement.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States accounting for one in every five deaths, according to the CDC.

“Cannabis use is increasing in both prevalence and frequency, while conventional tobacco smoking is declining,” said Dr. Salomeh Keyhani, a professor of medicine at UCSF and senior author of the study. Getty Images/iStockphoto
“Cannabis use is increasing in both prevalence and frequency, while conventional tobacco smoking is declining,” said Dr. Salomeh Keyhani, a professor of medicine at UCSF and senior author of the study. Getty Images/iStockphoto

Marijuana became legalized in New York in 2021 and began being sold for recreational purposes in 2022.

Many states are following in New York’s footsteps and legalizing marijuana, which further exemplifies the need to conduct more research and understand the health effects of the drug.