Five-Fold Increase in Heart Attack Risk after MJ

Five-Fold Increase in Heart Attack Risk after MJ
Posted by FoM on March 02, 2000 at 16:17:27 PT
By Daniel Q. Haney
Source: Nando Times
Warning to middle-aged potheads: Smoking marijuana could be bad for your middle-aged hearts. In the first study to find a link between pot and heart trouble, Harvard researchers reported Thursday that the risk of a heart attack is five times higher than usual in the hour after smoking a joint. 
Until now, marijuana has not been much of an issue in heart disease, since older folks do not typically smoke pot. However, this could change as baby boomers take their pot-smoking habits into middle age and beyond. The researchers said that for someone in shape, marijuana is about twice as risky as exercising or having sex. The study was conducted by Dr. Murray Mittleman of the Harvard School of Public Health and Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He presented the findings at a conference in San Diego of the American Heart Association. The researchers questioned 3,882 heart attack victims - men and women - at 62 locations across the country about their habits and found that 124 were marijuana users. While pot was uncommon among the elderly heart patients, 13 percent of those under age 50 said they smoke it. Among those questioned, 37 had their heart attacks within a day of using marijuana, including nine within an hour afterward. The researchers calculated that someone's risk of a heart attack is five times higher during the hour after using marijuana. After an hour, the risk falls to twice normal. It soon returns to the usual level. Whether a fivefold increase is a worry depends on whether someone has other risk factors, such as high blood pressure or diabetes. The increased risk is probably insignificant for a 20-year-old, whose chance of a heart attack is vanishingly small anyway. "With baby boomers aging, more people in 40s and 50s are smoking marijuana than in prior generations," Mittleman said. "The risk of coronary artery disease increases with age. Whether this will emerge as a public health problem remains to be seen." In any case, the risk of a heart attack from any single session of marijuana smoking is likely to be low. Mittleman said that for an otherwise healthy 50-year-old man, it is about 10 in 1 million. Marijuana typically makes the heart speed up by about 40 beats a minute. Whether this is how it contributes to heart attacks is unclear. Mittleman noted that while marijuana doesn't contain nicotine, the smoke is otherwise similar to cigarette smoke. In general, the marijuana smokers in the study were more likely than other heart attack victims to be overweight and sedentary, but they were less apt to have diabetes, high blood pressure or badly clogged arteries. "My advice on marijuana is, `Don't,"' said Dr. Lynn Smaha of Sayre, Pa., president of the heart association. "If they have heart disease, I'd tell patients they are playing a dangerous game if they smoke marijuana." Mittleman said the possibility of triggering a heart attack should be considered when deciding whether to smoke marijuana for medicinal purposes, such as to relieve the nausea of chemotherapy. Chuck Thomas of the Washington-based Medical Marijuana Policy Group, which advocates legalizing pot for medical treatment, noted that many prescription drugs can also have dangerous side effects. "If someone has such a bad heart that they can't run upstairs, they probably should not smoke marijuana, either," he said. "But that decision should be left up to a doctor and not the criminal justice system." San Diego:Published: March 2, 2000Copyright  2000 Nando MediaCopyright  2000 Associated PressRelated Articles & Web Sites:Marijuana Policy Project Marijuana Linked to Heart Attacks Sclerosis Study Aided by Marijuana Ingredient Kills Rat Brain Tumors
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on March 03, 2000 at 20:19:08 PT
Waiting To Inhale: Hemp for Health?  
Hi Everyone,This news article from MSNBC is from last MAY but because of the recent medical marijuana news it now is in the top 10 stories which is great! If you would click on this link and go to the bottom of the page, you will see a place to vote for this article and you pick from 1 to 7 then you can view the top 10 stories. Let's try to keep this on the top 10 for awhile! MSNBC is a conservative network so I guess I think it is important.Waiting To Inhale: Hemp for Health?  By Charlene LainoMSNBC    SAN FRANCISCO, May 25  Responding to pressure from scientists and voters, the Clinton administration recently loosened restraints on medical marijuana research. This story, much of which first appeared on in November, 1997, revisits the issue: Does basic scientific evidence support the use of hemp for better health?
Waiting To Inhale: Hemp for health?
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on March 03, 2000 at 19:04:38 PT
Marijuana being used as a scapegoat again
The stupidity of this so called study is so obvious to me and many of us. A middle age person is always the age that is susceptible to having a heart attack. We lost a close friend and he was in his mid 40s and he didn't smoke pot. Diet, exercise, a good mental outlook, enviormental and hereditary factors contribute to having a good heart. Marijuana once more is a scapegoat for them but we don't buy it!Peace, FoM!
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Comment #10 posted by Freedom on March 03, 2000 at 18:22:34 PT
More tools of propaganda.
I would like to see a comparative study done on which isa worse risk factor for heart attack: arrest and incarceration, or smoking marijuana.
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Comment #9 posted by Symmetric on March 03, 2000 at 14:56:21 PT:
Article from CBC
SAN DIEGO - If you're a middle-aged pot smoker, you might be a heart attack waiting to happen. A study presented at a conference of the American Heart Association (AHA) in San Diego says the risk of a heart attack is almost five times higher than usual in the hour after smoking a joint. In the second hour, the risk dropped to almost twice as high as normal. Risk of heart attack five times higher after smoking Murray Mittleman, director of cardiovascular epidemiology at Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Center, says the study is the first to show a link between pot smoking and heart attacks. Mittleman says the findings should be a warning to baby boomers who picked up the habit when they were younger and still smoke. Each time they light up, says Mittleman, their risk of a heart attack soars. Researchers studied 3,882 people who had heart attacks. They found that 124 were current marijuana users. Of that group, 37 said they smoked the drug within 24 hours before their heart attack. Nine of them said they'd smoked pot within an hour of their first symptoms. The average age of the smokers was 46. The researchers couldn't say whether it's the marijuana itself or the carbon monoxide found in smoke that actually causes the higher heart attack risk.Previous studies have shown that younger pot smokers are not at a greater risk for heart attacks. The research was funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the American Heart Association. 
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Comment #8 posted by observer on March 03, 2000 at 09:21:13 PT
Marijuana Smokers Underrepresented ?
> The researchers questioned 3,882 heart attack victims - men and women - at 62 locations across the country about their habits and found that 124 were marijuana users.(this is a summary from another post)That's about 3.19 percent. :''18 million [US Citizens] have smoked marijuana within the last year, and ten million are regular marijuana smokers.''There are about 274,943,494 (Year 2000, est.) people in the US ... 10 million is an estimated 3.6% of the population ... this "latest research" shows only 3.19 instead of 3.6 percent as we would expect. Why?Of course the study never addresses cause and effect. And as people here mentioned, there are certain times of the day when, statistically, one is more likely to have an attack than at other times. Are these the same times people also tend to do certain other things? Like smoke? The study never addresses this, or if it does, we are not told about this. And the article doesn't tell us who paid for this research. (NIDA?)
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Comment #7 posted by dustin on March 03, 2000 at 08:44:04 PT:
heart attacks
the study is a staged lie. the govt claims to have virtually no info derived from studying pot and all of a sudden there is a study that shows it increases the chances of heart attacks? how many of the patients had a cup of coffee within an hour of their heart attacks or drank a mountain dew? the govt is just getting worried because it is becoming apparent to the public how stupid the prohobition of pot is and something will change soon.
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Comment #6 posted by Incognito on March 03, 2000 at 08:00:29 PT:
What about caffiene?
Ingesting caffiene can increase the heart rate, probably more than marijuana can. Why is this not "studied?" Maybe because it's legal? Who funded this study? This is even more suspect than the "head and neck cancer" findings released last month. It is transparently obvious that the anti-marijuana camp is desperately attempting to sway public opinion before data becomes available from the real, objective scientific marijuana studies currently underway.
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Comment #5 posted by Kanabys on March 03, 2000 at 07:42:27 PT:
Corruption & PR
I wonder how much longer the govt can get away with taking bribes from big industy and 'SUGGESTING' to the researchers that they find bad things about Cannabis? This has gone on much too long. When are people going to band together in a group strong enough to overcome these lies?
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Comment #4 posted by Eric Andersen on March 03, 2000 at 07:22:18 PT:
What's the full story?
Of the 124 heart attack victims that admit to marijuana use, how many were tobacco smokers? How many also drank alcohol? How many were using other drugs, legal and otherwise? How many were obese?In other words, were the hell is the data on other risk factors that could lead to heart attack?Also, it is a fact that the government has waged a well-funded war against marijuana and marijuana smokers for most of the 20th century. It seems odd that it took until the year 2000 for them to do a simple study linking marijuana to heart attack risk.This study is bogus.
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Comment #3 posted by Elton Fleener on March 03, 2000 at 02:32:45 PT
To add to my brothers previous comment; You are 10 times as likely to have a heart attack within five minutes after getting out of bed in the morning. BACON is more dangerous to your heart and health than weed. I am also disgusted!......Elton Fleener
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Comment #2 posted by Elwood Fleener on March 03, 2000 at 02:20:10 PT
Junk science propaganda
This study is an excellent example of the insipid rubbish that spews forth from the Evil Empire. Assinine rhetoric like this,would almost be amusing,if the DEA didnt own the national media. I'm disgusted......againElwood Fleener
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Comment #1 posted by Ken Sailor on March 02, 2000 at 17:12:45 PT:
This study seems doubtful
Compare these results to "Marijana Use and Mortality"in American Journal of Public Health (87:4). (Try theonline libraries like )Their conclusion was that marijuana has little effect on mortality. If the risk of heart attack is really so increased, then there must be some other factor that is reduced or the mortality rate would not be unaffected. That, or maybe they don't realize how widespread smoking the herb is.
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