While more research is necessary, a new study concludes that there is no association between stroke risk and marijuana use.
Google “does marijuana increase risk of stroke,” and you’ll likely become confused. Some research, released earlier this year, indicates heavy marijuana consumption doubles the risk of stroke for young people. Other studies have indicated that data used in this research is closer to correlation than causation.
But a new study published in the journal Neurology Clinical Practice aims to put the matter to bed. American Academy of Neurology researchers claim there is no link between stroke risk and marijuana use, based on recent findings.
“Previous studies that investigated cannabis use and risk of stroke have had conflicting results, some showing a decreased risk and others showing a greatly increased risk,” the study’s lead author Dr. Carmela San Luis said in a statement.
“Our observational study looked specifically at recent cannabis use by reviewing drug testing data for people admitted to the hospital. While more research is needed with larger numbers of people, our study lends support to the studies showing that cannabis use does not increase the risk of stroke.”
For their research, San Luis’s team collected data from 9,350 patients admitted to the hospital who also received a urine test for drug use. (Those who tested positive for drugs other than marijuana were excluded from the study.) A total of 1,643 people of the group (18%) had marijuana in their system, according to the drug test. They found those who tested negative for marijuana were twice as likely to have had an ischemic stroke than those who tested positive.
When researchers adjusted for other significant stroke risk factors, blood pressure, obesity, smoking, and more, they reported no link between recent marijuana use and the likelihood of suffering a stroke. As the researchers emphasized, this was an observational study. That means scientists can’t definitively say smoking marijuana has no impact on stroke risk. Instead, it shows there’s no association between the two.
“Our research adds to the list of studies with conflicting results, so it is important to continue to investigate stroke risk and cannabis use,” San Luis added. “Future studies are now needed in larger groups of people that not only include data from drug screenings but also dosing amounts as well as a person’s history of cannabis use.”