Marijuana linked to high blood pressure risk

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People who smoke marijuana may face a higher risk of dying of complications of high blood pressure than people who never use the drug, new research suggests.

The study included 1,213 people ages 20 and older who were part of a larger national health survey that began in 2005. Those who said they'd ever used marijuana (57%) were considered users. Researchers then looked at data on different causes of death in 2011 and estimated the association between marijuana use with death from high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.

They concluded that marijuana users had a higher risk of death related to high blood pressure than non-users. In addition to increasing the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure can lead to kidney disease and heart failure. However, the estimates of marijuana use may not be reliable, since the researchers don't know if the participants used marijuana continuously after first trying it. On the flip side, people may underreport their use of illegal substances.

Still, the results suggest that the cardiovascular risks of marijuana use may be similar to smoking cigarettes. The study was published in the Aug. 9, 2017, European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.