A recent survey found that a little over half of Americans have tried cannabis at some point in their lives. A different observational study found that those who smoke marijuana are three times more likely to have high blood pressure.
Smoking Marijuana and High Blood Pressure
The observational study by Georgia State University looked at the results from a previous ongoing national health survey of 1,200 people ages 20 and over. They found that marijuana smokers are three times more likely to die from high blood pressure than people who don’t.
The researchers pulled data from the US National Center for Health Statistics that provided statistics on death from all causes. With this, they were able to rule out factors like race, gender, and any background of smoking tobacco.
The lead author of the study and doctoral student of epidemiology and biostatistics said, “We found that marijuana users had a greater than three-fold risk of death from hypertension and the risk increased with each additional year of use.
To be precise, marijuana smokers were 3.42 times more likely to die from high blood pressure and for “each year of use” the risk increased by 1.04%. People who never smoked are at a lower risk of high blood pressure.
The caveat here is that the study refers to marijuana users as anyone who has tried it once. Only about 14% of people who have said they’ve tried cannabis said they use it regularly.
Additionally, because it is an observational study, this doesn’t necessarily show cause and effect. It shows that smoking marijuana is tied to high blood pressure, but doesn’t cause it.
Because marijuana is illegal and unregulated, there are over 400 different types of compounds and concentrations. As a result, it’s hard to generalize the results since everyone may be smoking different types of cannabis.
This study is inconclusive because of the mentioned variables, but scientists do know that marijuana has effects on the heart in one way or another.
One study from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found that “insufficient evidence” to prove or disprove the theory that cannabis can increase the risk of heart attacks.
A smaller study saw that blood pressure spiked immediately after regular marijuana users stopped using the drug. However, the Mayo Clinic found that using cannabis may decrease blood pressure instead of increase it.
So while the findings are inconclusive, there is evidence to show that smoking marijuana links to high blood pressure in one way or another. If you smoke pot regularly, you may want to consider cutting back or quitting completely.