There’s more evidence that smoking marijuana can be dangerous for people with heart disease, according to two new studies presented recently at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions. But in an unexpected twist, people who use cannabis were less likely to experience sudden kidney failure, the researchers found.
Looking at the totality of the two studies, they seem to contain some contradictory findings, said Dr. Peter Grinspoon, a cannabis expert, instructor at Harvard Medical School and board member of Doctors for Cannabis Regulation. On the one hand, Grinspoon said, researchers are reporting increases in stroke, bleeding and second heart attacks in those using cannabis, but on the other, they are reporting improvements in cardiovascular risk factors, such as hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes.
Grinspoon was particularly struck by the lower rate of kidney failure among those who used marijuana in the Yoo study.
“By their measures, they’ve actually shown that cannabis decreases kidney damage, which should be a huge headline in itself,” he said.
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