Cannabis users under the age of 45 are twice as likely to have a heart attack

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A new study has found that individuals younger than the age of 45 who recently used cannabis are at double the risk of suffering a heart attack in the next 30 days- and the link is even stronger in frequent users.

The research, published today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, adds to evidence from earlier studies showing a correlation between heavy cannabis use and myocardial infarction- the medical term for a heart attack- in hospital settings.

The new study analysed medical data from over 33,000 American adults aged between 18 to 44, of whom 17 percent reported using cannabis in the previous 30 days.

A heart attack occurred in 1.3 percent of those who used cannabis and 0.8 percent of non-users.

Those at the highest risk were male, cigarette smokers, vapers and heavy alcohol consumers.

The research team added that those factors, plus others that increase the risk of a heart attack, were taken into account during the study. 

Lead researcher Dr Karim Ladha, a clinician scientist at Unity Health Toronto, said: “With recent legalisation and decriminalisation, cannabis use is increasing in young adults in North America, and we do not fully know its effects on cardiovascular health.”

He added that the link was consistent across different forms of cannabis consumption, including smoking, vaping, and other methods such as edibles.

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Nikhil Mistry, a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto, added: “As a young adult, it is important to be aware of the risks associated with cannabis use, especially in the current climate where we are exposed to a wealth of misinformation and non–evidence-based health recommendations.”

Dr David Mazer, a clinician scientist at Unity Health Toronto, said: “Not only young adults, but physicians and other clinicians need to be aware of this potentially important relationship. 

“Cannabis use should be considered in cardiovascular risk assessment. When making decisions about cannabis consumption, patients and physicians should consider its associated benefits and risks, in the context of their own health risk factors and behaviours.”

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