Regularly smoking cannabis increases the proportion in the blood of inflammatory molecules responsible for heart attacks before the age of 50.
- The harmful effects of cannabis on cardiac functions appear within hours of consumption
- WHO wants more research to be done on the heart risks of smoking cannabis
It is a serious alert that has just been launched researchers from the American University of Stanford. After analyzing the genetic and medical data of approximately 500,000 people between the ages of 40 and 69, they claim that “marijuana has a significant adverse effect on the vascular system“to the point of significantly increasing the risk of having a so-called “early” heart attack, i.e. before the age of 50.
“Our research on human cells and in mice clearly describes how exposure to THC – the active molecule in cannabis – triggers a damaging molecular cascade in blood vessels.“, specify these scientists. Of the 500,000 people whose data were analyzed, 35,000 said they had already smoked cannabis and 11,000 of them smoked it more than once a month.
Inflammatory molecules in the blood
Result: In cannabis smokers, the number of inflammatory molecules in the blood increased significantly within three hours of smoking a cannabis cigarette. “It is this inflammation that is responsible for early heart attacks, which increase the lifetime risk of a new attack or heart problems that can lead to sudden death,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Mark Chandy.
But this is not, if we can say so, the only danger linked to the regular consumption of cannabis. Researchers at Queen Mary University of London had already discovered that habitual cannabis smokers had a larger than normal heart with an alteration of the left ventricle. And it had been observed on the MRI images to which the cannabis smokers had been subjected that their heart resumed its normal size as soon as this consumption was stopped.
WHO calls for research into heart impact
While last February, the National Academy of Medicine in France was concerned about the impact of the consumption of tobacco, alcohol and cannabis on the health of young French people and on their future descendants because of the impacts on their health linked to epigenetics, the WHO, for its part, warns against the effects of the consumption of cannabis for non-medical purposes. And the organization calls for more research on the cardiac impact of this consumption. The work carried out by Stanford scientists therefore confirms these cardiac risks associated with the use of cannabis.