Scientists said smoking cannabis may increase your risk of developing a stroke.
Researchers analyzed hospitalizations of over two million people using cannabis from 2010 to 2014.
Rates of stroke among people who do not use cannabis didn’t change, but rates among recreational users jumped by fifteen percent.
Only adult users were involved in the research, leaving the scientists unsure if children will also experience the same risk.
Scientists explained that the cannabinoids compounds in marijuana may cause blood vessels to narrow and may lead to stroke due to low blood supply.
The study followed after the announcement that cannabis will be available in England, Wales and Scotland for medicinal purposes.
The change to policy came after a review into the medicinal status of the drug when high profile cases of patients were denied products that contain THC – the compound that makes users high.
According to Home Secretary Sajid David, the change is not the first step towards the broader legalization of the drug. But the pressure increased for the cannabis to be made legal to smoke recreationally in the United Kingdom.
In the United States, recreational marijuana is legal in Massachuttes, Colorado, California and other six states.
It is also legal to take cannabis for medical purposes in 30 US states, such as Pennsylvania, Florida, and Illinois. The most recent state to allow the drug to be taken on prescription is Oklahoma.
In Canada, residents can now legally purchase cannabis.
Led by Dr. Krupa Patel, Avalon University researchers analyzed 2.3 million people from 18 to 84 years old who used cannabis recreationally and stayed in hospital from 2010 to 2014.
32,231 out of 2.3 million people had a stroke. 19,452 had an acute ischemic stroke, which happens when the blood supply to an area of the brain is cut off, causing a loss of cognitive function
Over the course of four years, the rate of strokes among people using marijuana rose from 1.3 to 1.5 percent. Acute ischemic stroke also increased from 0.7 to 0.9 percent.
The rate of stroke remained constant among non-cannabis users.
The study was presented at the World Stroke Congress in Montreal. The scientists believe that the results “warrant further prospective studies to evaluate the marijuana-stroke association amidst legalisation of recreational use.”
However, the study contradicts previous studies that suggest using cannabis can lower the risk of stroke by improving blood flow to the brain. Marijuana was also linked to faster recovery post stroke.
Around 32,000 people die from stroke in the UK and 140,000 people in the US every year.
According to a study conducted in Nanjing University, China, over-the-counter supplement ginkgo biloba helps to improve memory, speech and muscle strength in stroke survivors.
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