Substance abuse can lead to a host of problems for individuals and their families. Whether it is alcohol or drugs that are being abused, the consequences can include poor health, unemployment, financial struggles, homelessness, and even premature death. While most people are aware of the damage that drugs such as heroin and crack cocaine can cause, many do not see cannabis as something to worry about. There is a strong feeling among some people that cannabis addiction does not exist, and many view the drug as harmless. In fact, several states in the US have moved to make the drug legal in recent times.

Increased Risk of Heart Failure

However, here at Liberty House Clinic, we are all too aware that cannabis addiction is a very real illness as we regularly treat those affected by it and who are unable to give up the drug without professional help.

In addition, a new study has revealed that those who use the drug have a higher chance of suffering a stroke or heart failure than those who do not. Researchers have discovered that smoking cannabis causes an increased risk of stroke by twenty-six per cent and a higher risk of heart failure by ten per cent.

Cannabis use was also linked to other factors that can increase the risk of cardiovascular problems such as smoking, alcohol use, high blood pressure and obesity. The news of the dangers of cannabis use comes as more US states look to make the drug legal or make it available for medicinal purposes.

Study

Researchers analysed the records of more than twenty million young and middle-aged people, which they obtained from various health centres in the US. The age range for patients was eighteen to fifty-five, and they had been discharged from more than one thousand hospitals between 2009 and 2010. At this point, cannabis for recreational use was illegal in every single state.

During their analysis, scientists discovered that 1.5 per cent, or 316,000 patients, had cannabis use recorded in their charts. It was also found that these patients had an increased risk for a variety of problems than those who did not report cannabis use. The higher risk related to coronary artery disease, heart failure, stroke, and sudden cardiac death. Even when other factors such as alcohol use and smoking were taken into account, use of the drug carried a higher risk.

Lead author of the report Dr Aditi Kalla said, “Even when we corrected for known risk factors, we still found a higher rate of both stroke and heart failure in these patients. So, that leads us to believe that there is something else going on besides just obesity or diet-related cardiovascular side effects. More research will be needed to understand the pathophysiology behind this effect.”

Reducing the Risk

The analysis of cell cultures found that cells in the heart muscle have cannabis receptors that affect the heart’s ability to contract. Dr Kalla said that compounds could be created to reduce cardiovascular risk. She said, “Like all other drugs, whether they’re prescribed or not prescribed, we want to know the effects and side effects of this drug. It’s important for physicians to know these effects so we can better educate patients such as those who are inquiring about the safety of cannabis or even asking for a prescription for cannabis.”

With the drug being legal for both recreational and medicinal use in many US states, Dr Kalla believes that more people will be willing to open up about their cannabis use now. And she said that this would allow researchers to get a better idea of the effects of the drug as it would allow for better data collection.

Cannabis Addiction

While cannabis is often used for medicinal purposes, there is no doubting the fact that for some people, the drug can have a number of negative consequences. Most individuals who use the drug recreationally will never go on to have a problem, but there are some who will become psychologically dependent on the drug and will require professional help to quit.

Here at Liberty House Clinic, we can help if you believe your own or a loved one’s cannabis use is out of control. By contacting us today, we can assess your situation to determine how severe your illness is and then discuss your options in terms of treatment.

Our clinic is decorated to the highest standards to ensure the comfort of patients, and we would like to assure you that your safety is our number one priority. We will help you to overcome your cannabis addiction in a secure and distraction-free environment where you will have constant access to care and support from fully qualified individuals. Call today for more information on our treatment programmes.

Source: Smoking marijuana increases the risk of STROKE by more than a quarter, study warns (Daily Mail)