Smoking marijuana may increase stroke risk

Toronto: If you are smoking marijuana then you are at an increased risk of developing cerebrovascular effects of cannabinoids or stroke, a new study has found.

The findings, presented at the World Stroke Congress in Montreal, showed a rise in stroke incidence among marijuana users from 2010-14 while overall stroke prevalence remained stable.

According to the researchers from the University of Toronto, there are over 80 million people currently living with the effects of stroke globally.

For the study, the team evaluated the use of the drug rivaroxaban versus acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) to prevent strokes in patients with an enlarged left atrium of the heart.

The study examined a total of 2.3 million hospitalisations among people who used marijuana recreationally among which 32,231 had a stroke including 19,452 with acute ischemic stroke — sudden loss of blood circulation to an area of the brain.

“We are seeing a very intriguing signal here, and it has biological plausibility, but it is going to require independent validation before making any changes to practice recommendations,” said co-author David Gladstone, Associate Professor from the varsity.

The results showed that the rate of stroke of all types among marijuana users increased from 1.3 to 1.5 per cent.

In addition, the rate of ischemic stroke increased from 0.7 to 0.9 per cent, the team said.

During the five-year period, the prevalence of stroke among all patients was stable, findings revealed, they added.

The researchers concluded that these growing trends of stroke among marijuana users “warrant further prospective studies to evaluate the marijuana-stroke association amidst legalisation of recreational use.”

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