Increased consumption and atherosclerosis

Increased consumption and atherosclerosis


Study on cumulative cannabis use and relationship with carotid artery intima-media thickness

A team of researchers from the United States and Switzerland evaluated the association between cannabis exposure and carotid thickness in young people. Atherosclerosis is an important cardiovascular risk factor. Future cardiovascular disease is often indicated by atherosclerosis. It is the loss of elasticity of the arteries due to sclerosis, caused in turn by the accumulation of fatty substances (mainly bad cholesterol called LDL) in the inner lining (intima) of the arteries. According to the CARDIA study (Development of coronary artery risk in young adults), middle-aged subjects with a history of cannabis use do not have an increased risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), according to longitudinal data published in theAmerican Journal of Medicine.

hardening of the arteries, carotid artery, atherosclerosis

Excessive cannabis use is not associated with hardening of the arteries.

The effects of cannabis on long-term cardiovascular health are yet to be studied. This research evaluated a group of 5,115 women and men and investigated the association between carotid intima-media thickness in middle age and lifetime exposure to marijuana (365 days of use) and smoking (20 cigarettes / day for 365 days).

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The investigators measured carotid intima-media thickness using ultrasound and defined an elevated carotid intima-media thickness at the 75th percentile threshold (k = P * n / 100) of all participants examined. Subsequently, they adjusted stratified logistic regression models for tobacco exposure, adjusting for demographic data, cardiovascular risk factors, and exposure to other drugs.

In the end, the data were complete for 3257 participants of which 2722 (84%) declared to have already used marijuana and 374 (11%) were current users with 1539 (47%) who declared to have ever smoked tobacco; 610 (19%) were current smokers.

Multivariate adjusted models did not show an association between cumulative exposure to marijuana and increased carotid intima-media thickness in those who never or never smoked. Cumulative exposure to tobacco was strongly associated with high carotid intima-media thickness.

No association between the average level of consumption and subclinical atherosclerosis

While cumulative tobacco use was strongly associated with high carotid intima-media thickness (odds ratio 1.88), exposure to marijuana was not (OR 0.87).

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This study adds to the growing body of evidence that there may be no association between the average level of marijuana use in the population and subclinical atherosclerosis. The authors concluded:

“This study adds to the growing body of evidence that there may be no association between the average level of marijuana use in the population and subclinical atherosclerosis.”

The results are consistent with previous studies indicating that neither current nor cumulative cannabis use is associated with atherosclerosis or other cardiovascular abnormalities in middle age.

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