One of those things people these days love to do, and has long been touted as not being bad for you, is smoking weed.
Study after study have revealed numerous benefits of using marijuana. It’s helpful when it comes to exercising, numerous companies are no longer testing for it, and pro sports leagues like Major League Baseball have changed their stance on weed.
Heck, even senior citizens are getting in on the benefits these days.
So, of course, there are some new studies out there now, including one being promoted by the American Heart Association, which say it’s bad for you.
“The American Heart Association recommends that people not smoke or vape any substance, including cannabis products, because of the potential harm to the heart, lungs and blood vessels,” said Dr. Rose Marie Robertson, AHA deputy chief science and medical officer.
The study, chaired by clinical pharmacologist Robert Page II and published in AHA journal Circulation, claims smoking weed can “trigger cardiovascular conditions or events, such as heart attacks and strokes.”
“If people choose to use cannabis for its medicinal or recreational effects, the oral and topical forms, for which doses can be measured, may reduce some of the potential harms,” Page said in a statement, adding, “It is also vitally important that people only use legal cannabis products because there are no controls on the quality or the contents of cannabis products sold on the street.”
Yeah, well, we all should already know that last part, right?
Tetrahydrocannabinol can also cause a faster heart rate, increase the heart’s need for oxygen, disrupt the walls of arteries and contribute to higher blood pressure while prone, according to other studies.
“Cannabis smoke contains components similar to tobacco smoke,” Page said, and studies show tobacco-like increases in carbon monoxide and tar in a weed smoker’s blood after smoking marijuana, regardless of the THC content.
Chest pain, heart attacks, heart rhythm disturbances and other serious heart conditions are associated with both tobacco and marijuana carbon monoxide intoxication, the statement said.
For anyone with existing heart disease, risks go up. Smoking weed has triggered heart attacks, a higher risk of strokes and heart failure in people with underlying heart disease, studies show.
On the plus side, at least these researchers weren’t all doom and gloom when it comes to smoking weed. They did admit that marijuana and related products like CBD do have positive benefits like lower blood pressure, reduced heart rate and less inflammation.
Unfortunately, because marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I controlled substance by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency, the ability to perform proper marijuana research is limited.
“The public needs fact-based, valid scientific information about cannabis’s effect on the heart and blood vessels,” Page said. “Research funding at federal and state levels must be increased to match the expansion of cannabis use — to clarify the potential therapeutic properties and to help us better understand the cardiovascular and public health implications of frequent cannabis use.”
Considering the sheer number of people using and the number of businesses selling weed these days, conducting proper research on its positives and negatives does seem like a pretty good idea.