Government Researchers report that Smoking marijuana increases the body’s production of a protein that raises levels of blood fats associated with heart attack and stroke.
Dr. Jean Lud Cadet said the previous researches has focused on the effects of marijuana on the brain. His team looked elsewhere in the body, measuring blood protein levels in 18 long-term, heavy marijuana users and 24 other people who did not use the drug.
The study did not look at whether the heavy marijuana users actually had heart disease.
“Chronic marijuana use is not only causing people to get high, it’s actually causing long-term adverse effects in patients who use too much of the drug,” Cadet, whose study is in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, said in a telephone interview. “Chronic marijuana abuse is not so benign.”
“It is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease,” Cadet said. “The study suggests that APOC-III might be one of the risk factors contributing to the medical problems that marijuana users suffer from.”
The effects of marijuana on the cardiovascular system are still uncertain, Mukamal said. “It has negative effects on heart rate and may even trigger heart attacks,” he said. “But in mice, it apparently prevents atherosclerosis. Whether it is good or bad remains a question.”