Study: Cannabis Smokers 3 Times More Likely to Develop Deadly Disease


Cesar, 36 poses smokes a marijuana joint for recreational use on March 13, 2021 in Mexico City, Mexico. Mexican Lower House approved a bill to legalize recreational use of cannabis and the project will be reviewed in the senate. This would make Mexico of the biggest regulated markets of cannabis in the world.
(Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)


A recent study underscores the importance of consistent, timely screening for individuals who consume marijuana, particularly due to an established correlation between cannabis use and peripheral artery disease (PAD).

The study, presented at the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography & Interventions (SCAI) 2023 Scientific Sessions, revealed that individuals who use marijuana exhibit a substantially higher risk of developing PAD.

PAD, a circulatory condition characterized by narrowed arteries and reduced blood flow to the arms and legs, affects approximately 6.5 million people in the United States. It can cause loss of mobility, diminished quality of life, and even fatal complications such as heart attacks and strokes if left untreated.

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Researchers scrutinized anonymized patient data from the National Inpatient Samples (NIS) collected between 2016-2019, with specific attention to reported marijuana use and PAD diagnosis. The collected data were analyzed via binary logistic regression analysis and revealed that marijuana users were more than three times as likely to develop PAD.

Lead author of the study, Hirva Vyas, DO, Hackensack University Medical Center, emphasized, “With the increase in marijuana use in the U.S., our findings show that users should be aware of the symptoms of PAD such as leg pain while walking, slower or no hair growth, and feelings of coldness in the leg.” Vyas further stressed that PAD is a progressive disease that can significantly affect the quality of life, necessitating continual monitoring and assessment of affected individuals.

The study, while acknowledging the escalated risk of PAD among marijuana users, found no statistically significant increase in risk for mortality or the need for percutaneous intervention among these individuals. Nonetheless, researchers recommended proactive monitoring for disease progression and emphasized the importance of cessation counseling.


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