The researchers say that their findings indicate that marijuana use is a greater risk factor for poor cardiovascular health than cigarette smoking.
Lead study author Barbara A. Yankey, of the School of Public Health at Georgia State University in Atlanta, and her team recently reported their results in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.
Hugh blood pressure, or hypertension arises when the force of blood pushing against the blood vessel walls becomes too high.
Around 75 Million people in the United States – or 32 percent of the U.S. population – have high blood pressure.
High blood pressure can increase the likelihood of stroke and heart disease and in 2014, the condition was the main or contributing factor in more than 410,000 in the U.S.
Cigarette smoking is a well-established risk factor for high blood pressure and poor cardiovascular health, but according to the new study from Yankey and team, marijuana use may be even more harmful.
Death from hypertension increased threefold
The researchers came to their findings by analyzing the data of 1,213 adults aged 20 and older, all of whom had participated in the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
As part of the survey, subjects were asked whether they had ever used marijuana, and if so, the age at which they first used the drug. Information on cigarette use was also collected.
In order to calculate the duration of marijuana use among participants, the researchers subtracted the age at first marijuana use from subjects’ current age.
Using 2011 data from the National Center for Health Statistics, the researchers assessed whether or not marijuana use might influence the risk of death from hypertension, heart disease, and cerebrovascular disease.