'Fatal health risk' associated with smoking cannabis 'Fatal health risk' associated with smoking cannabis

'Fatal health risk' associated with smoking cannabis

'Fatal health risk' associated with smoking cannabis

A recent analysis of 430,000 adults in the United States found that the cannabis plant (or hashish) is associated with a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes.

The researchers collected study data between 2016 and 2020 from the “Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System,” an annual national cross-sectional survey conducted under the supervision of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The team followed data on cannabis use and whether it was associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes among the general adult population, and among people who had never smoked tobacco or used e-cigarettes. They also took into account the number of days individuals used cannabis per month.

The study found that cannabis “in all its forms” was associated with a higher number of heart problems and vascular diseases (coronary heart disease, myocardial infarction, and stroke), and the odds of adverse outcomes increased with more frequent use (more days per month).

Results were similar after controlling for other risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including tobacco and/or e-cigarette use, alcohol consumption, body mass index, type 2 diabetes, and physical activity.

A separate analysis of a smaller subgroup of adults who had never smoked tobacco cigarettes or nicotine e-cigarettes also found a significant association between cannabis use and an increased risk of coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke.

“Despite common use, little is known about the risks of cannabis use and, in particular, the risks of cardiovascular disease,” said lead study author Abra Jeffers, Ph.D., a data analyst at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. "Cannabis smoking is decreasing, and people no longer consider cannabis use a risk to their health. However, previous research has indicated that cannabis can be linked to cardiovascular disease."

She added: “Cannabis smoke is not much different from tobacco smoke, except for the psychoactive drug, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), versus nicotine.”

It is worth noting that this study has several limitations, including self-reporting of cardiovascular conditions and cannabis use, and the researchers did not have health data measuring the participants’ baseline lipid level or blood pressure.

Further studies monitoring groups of individuals over time are needed to examine the relationship between cannabis use and cardiovascular outcomes while taking into account frequency of cannabis use.

The study was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.


As dangerous as smoking and obesity Research links air pollution to cancer

New research has revealed a worrying relationship between air pollution and the likelihood of cancer, especially breast and prostate cancer.

A major review of 27 studies, due to be published in the journal Anticancer Research on Friday, found that long-term exposure to polluted air increases the chance of developing breast cancer by 45 percent and prostate cancer by 20 to 28 percent.

The research team identified the 27 studies from a database of hundreds of peer-reviewed publications investigating the role of pollution in human diseases, and included millions of patients who were followed over decades.

Professor Kifah Mokbel, one of Britain's leading breast surgeons, who conducted the analysis, explained that air pollution increases the risk of death from breast cancer by 80% and any type of cancer by 22%, making it "a significant risk factor like smoking, obesity and alcohol."

Particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5) is of particular concern. These are tiny fragments of pollution (thinner than a human hair) that come from exhaust fumes, manufacturing, wood-burning stoves, cooking, smoking and the use of e-cigarettes. They enter the lungs and then into the bloodstream.

Professor Mokbel told Good Health: “PM2.5 will not cause a cough, but mounting evidence shows it can cause silent DNA damage when it enters the body, and can lead to cancer.”

He added: “It can cause inflammation and oxidative stress, where the balance between free radicals associated with disease and antioxidants (which get rid of free radicals) becomes unbalanced, causing damage to the DNA of cells. Both are known risk factors for cancer. PM2 is also disrupted.” 5 glands throughout the body that produce hormones, and this is of particular concern for breast and prostate cancer.”

He continued, explaining: “Long-term exposure to PM2.5 pollution not only increases the risk of breast cancer, but also appears to be associated with more aggressive disease.”

Professor Mokbel recommends taking steps to protect yourself from the harmful effects of air pollution, saying: “Avoid areas with high pollution wherever possible, but do not rely on masks, as they provide little protection against this type of pollution. I also recommend eating a Mediterranean diet full of antioxidants.” "To neutralize the effect of PM2.5, this means eating fish, fruits such as pomegranates, strawberries, raspberries and tomatoes, vegetables such as kale and broccoli, and drinking green tea daily."

He adds: "People should also be aware that e-cigarettes are not a safe alternative to smoking, with growing evidence suggesting that they transfer PM2.5 directly to the lungs."

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