American College of Cardiology
American College of Cardiology
March 17, 2017
1 min read

Marijuana use linked to higher risk for stroke, HF

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WASHINGTON — A new study presented at the American College of Cardiology Scientific Session highlights elevated risk for stroke, HF and other CV events with marijuana use.

As of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, 28 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized marijuana for medicinal and/or recreational uses, according to the study background.

Aditi Kalla

“From a physician’s perspective, we now need to be more knowledgeable about the risks and benefits of cannabis, as patients in these states may inquire about the use of it or even ask us for prescriptions of it,” Aditi Kalla, MD, cardiology fellow at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, said during a press conference.

Kalla and colleagues collected 2009-2010 data from the National Inpatient Sample Database, when legalization of marijuana was less common. The researchers focused on participants aged 18 to 55 years who reported using marijuana (n = 316,397 [1.5%]; mean age: 33 years; 60% men) or reported no use (n = 20,499,215 [98.5%]; mean age: 26 years; 38% men).

Compared with no use, those who reported using marijuana were more likely to have CV events including HF (1.4% vs. 1.2%; P < .01), stroke (1.03% vs. 0.62%; P < .0001), sudden cardiac death (0.21% vs. 0.17%; P = .02) and CAD (5% vs. 4.6%; P < .0001), according to the findings.

After adjustment for sex, age, diabetes, hypertension, CAD, hyperlipidemia, and tobacco and alcohol use, marijuana was an independent predictor of HF (OR = 1.1; 95% CI, 1.02-1.18) and cerebrovascular accidents (OR = 1.26; 95% CI, 1.16–1.36).

“Even when we corrected for known risk factors, we still found a higher rate of both stroke and [HF] in these patients, so that leads us to believe that there is something else going on besides just obesity or diet-related [CV] side effects,” Kalla said in a press release. “More research will be needed to understand the pathophysiology behind this effect.” – by Darlene Dobkowski


Kalla A, et al. Abstract 1187-055. Presented at: American College of Cardiology Scientific Session; March 17-19, 2017; Washington, D.C.

Disclosure : Kalla reports no relevant financial disclosures.