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Doctors warn of heart health concerns associated with consistent cannabis usage

COLORADO, USA (KRDO) - In light of the popular day of April 20 (4/20) celebrated by cannabis users across the country, the American Heart Association is warning cannabis consumers of all ages, about new findings that may bring their heart health into question.

Robert Page II, PharmD, is a professor at CU Boulder's Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science, who was a part of initial research into the impacts that cannabis consumption may have on the cardiovascular system.

In addition to another recent study, Page says that experts found whether you are a young adult, middle aged parent, or even older than that, there are cardiovascular concerns associated with regularly using cannabis.

However, Page says the larger surprise came from data they collected from 18-35-year-olds.

"To see this in a very young, young population is is like, whoa, it's … a signal." said Page.

The associated risks show a higher risk for stroke, heart attack, irregular heartbeat, or other cardiovascular diseases.

"The data suggest the longer you use it, the greater the risk for these events," explained Page.

He adds that the typical risk factors of tobacco use, obesity, and high cholesterol, also weigh into your heart health, but using cannabis may be elevating that concern.

"We do know that there is definitely a risk with the vaping and with the smoking." said Page. "The data suggests that if you're using it at least once a day for about 4 to 5 days, that still puts you at increased risk."

Page says that even if have a medical card for cannabis, these associated risks still apply to you, just as any prescribed medication would with the side effects they can carry.

He says that middle-aged or older users of cannabis should have honest consultations with their doctors, given the possibility of drug interactions with medications that they might be using.

"Being transparent about the use of cannabis to your primary care provider is absolutely critical." said Page.

Page clarified these are just associated risks, and not direct results of cannabis usage. He says that due to the U.S government listing cannabis as a schedule one drug, it does not allow for standard trials and large studies for hard, conclusive data to be performed.

He says that until those types of studies are done, it cannot be determined with any certainty there is a definite cause and effect from cannabis on the human body.

Page likened the situation with cannabis, to tobacco, where only decades later were the true health impacts from smoking and chewing tobacco discovered.

To read more on one of the studies that Page refers to, can be found here: Association of Cannabis Use With Cardiovascular Outcomes Among US Adults

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Tyler Cunnington

Tyler is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about him here.


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