Is Pot Smoking a Stroke Trigger?
By Chris Kaiser, Cardiology Editor, MedPage Today // February 6, 2013
EDITOR’S NOTE: A new study out of New Zealand on a relatively young cohort of research subjects (age range 18-55 with an average of 45) provides evidence that there is an association between smoking pot and stroke. As reported on MedPage Today in the excerpted article below, although further research is needed to explore the details associated with risks of cannabis and stroke, it is well established that the use of marijuana causes constriction of brain arteries as well as palpitations (irregular heart beat) such as atrial fibrillation, which is strongly associated with stroke.
The physiologic and psychological effects of pot smoking has been established and is usually discussed in terms of “recreational” and “heavy” use. It is generally thought that occasional marijuana use is rarely seriously harmful, but it is research like this that raises serious question about the impact of routine and regular use on the body and the incidence of specific associated serious medical conditions.
With two states, Washington and Colorado, already voting in 2012 to legalize marijuana use, eight states with legal medical cannabis, seven states with decriminalized cannabis possession laws, and another eight with both medical and decriminalization laws, it is imperative to continue to investigate the medical consequences of pot.
MEDPAGE TODAY–Middle age stroke patients were 2.3 times more likely to be pot smokers than healthy middle age controls, according to a study slated for presentation here (Honolulu, HI) at the International Stroke Conference (ISC).
“This is the largest case-controlled study ever done to show a possible link to the increased risk of stroke from cannabis,” P. Alan Barber, MD, PhD, a professor of clinical neurology at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, told MedPage Today in an interview.
The study will be formally presented at the conference on Wednesday. The ISC released the information after an Australian publication reported the finding based on an embargoed press release.
Barber’s interest in the topic arose when he encountered a 30-something stroke patient who had none of the typical risk factors associated with stroke such as hypertension or diabetes — but the patient smoked pot.
He and his colleagues then searched the literature and found similar case reports associating marijuana smoking with stroke in younger adults who did not have typical risk factors.
CLICK HERE to read the complete story on MedPageToday.com.