Marijuana and Heart Problems
Monday, August 25, 2008

Marijuana can be hard on the heart. A study by researchers with the National Institute on Drug Abuse has found a possible link between marijuana use and heart problems. Dr. Ed Hill tells us about the study in today’s 60 Second Housecall.

Smoking marijuana results in changes in the bloodstream that may put chronic users at risk for serious cardiovascular problems such as heart attack and stroke.

Researchers with the National Institute on Drug Abuse say the active chemical in marijuana, THC, causes the body to overproduce a protein called ApoC-111. This protein is linked to high triglycerides because of problems with the breakdown of blood fats in the body.

The researchers note that marijuana’s effects from heavy, long-term use have been linked to neuorological problems such as learning difficulty and strokes.

Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the United States, according to the journal report.

For the study, researchers looked at blood samples from 18 regular marijuana users and 24 nonusers. They found that chronic pot smokers had significant increases in blood levels of ApoC-111. They also found an association between ApoC-111 levels and elevated levels of triglycerides.

Researchers suggest that THC-related increases in levels of this protein might be a cause of the cardiac and cerebral problems observed in chronic marijuana users.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, I’m Dr. Ed Hill.