Another longitudinal study from last year involving 1,037 individuals who were followed for 38 years came to a similar conclusion.
Researchers analyzed data from 1,213 participants who were considered marijuana users based on their responses to the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). They were also asked to report the age in which they first tried using marijuana. Participants reported the age when they first tried marijuana, and this was subtracted from their current age to calculate the duration of use. For example, it can not be certain that participants used marijuana continuously since they first tried it. Among a total of 1213 participants, 34% used neither marijuana nor cigarettes, 21% used only marijuana, 20% used marijuana and smoked cigarettes, 16% used marijuana and were past-smokers, 5% were past-smokers, and 4% only smoked cigarettes. "This indicates that marijuana use may carry even heavier consequences on the cardiovascular system than that already established for cigarette smoking".
This data was merged with mortality statistics from the US National Center for Health Statistics. They controlled for other risk factors cigarette use and demographic variables such as sex, age, and ethnicity.
Recent studies show that roughly 50 percent of USA adults have tried marijuana at least once, but only 12 percent are current consumers of cannabis.
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"Compared with no marijuana use, cumulative lifetime and recent marijuana use showed no association with incident CVD [cardiovascular disease], stroke, or transient ischemic attacks, coronary heart disease, or CVD mortality", the authors of that study wrote.More news: Corea del Nord. Prodotta una testata nucleare miniaturizzata
"However, although this paper has limitations there is enough evidence from other research to strongly suspect marijuana use increases the risk of some forms of heart disease, and it is certainly not harmless".
"We found higher estimated cardiovascular risks associated with marijuana use than cigarette smoking", said study author Barbara A. Yankey from Georgia State University. The researchers acknowledged "the number of smokers in our study was small and this needs to be examined in a larger study".
"Support for liberal marijuana use is partly due to claims that it is beneficial and possibly not harmful to health", she added.
"Steps are being taken toward legalization and decriminalization of marijuana in the United States, and rates of recreational marijuana use may increase substantially as a result", Yankey said in a press release from the European Society of Cardiology.
If use of marijuana has any impact on cardiovascular diseases as well as deaths, then it is the responsibility of the health community and policy makers to protect the public, says Ms. Yankey.