Major study reveals link between marijuana use and coronary artery disease

Major study reveals link between marijuana use and coronary artery disease

People who smoke marijuana or consume marijuana edibles on a daily basis are a third more likely to develop coronary artery disease (CAD), a new study has revealed.

The study, performed by researchers at The American College of Cardiology, is one of the largest of its kind into the long-term toll of marijuana use on the heart.

Researchers examined the marijuana habits of 175,000 participants and compared the rate of CAD diagnosis in the group with the wider population of the US.

The link to CAD – the most common form of heart disease – remained, regardless of how the drug was ingested (smoked, eaten, etc.).

Dr Ishan Paranjpe, resident physician at Stanford University and the study’s lead author, said: “We found that marijuana use is linked to CAD, and there seems to be a dose-response relationship in that more frequent marijuana use is associated with a higher risk of CAD.

“In terms of the public health message, it shows that there are probably certain harms of marijuana use that weren’t recognised before, and people should take that into account.”

What does marijuana do to you?

Marijuana, also known as dope, weed or grass, is classed as a psychoactive drug and is most commonly inhaled, either by smoking or vaping, or ingested in hash or resin form.

However, it is also used as an ingredient in ‘marijuana edibles’ such as teas, candies and cakes.

The drug can affect different people in different ways, depending on the person taking it, their mood, how much marijuana they have taken, frequency of usage and how much tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) it contains: the main psychoactive compound found in marijuana.

When a person consumes marijuana, THC is released into the body, altering normal brain communication, and affecting thinking, memory, movement, pleasure, and concentration.

This is why some marijuana users feel more relaxed, ‘chilled out’ and happy, while others may become paranoid, confused or anxious.

Marijuana can also cause other physical side effects such as lethargy, drowsiness, and increased hunger. Mild hallucinations can also occur, as can sickness and nausea.

Learn more about Marijuana

Long-term effects of marijuana use

The latest study from the American College of Cardiology highlights the real dangers posed by long-term, consistent marijuana use.

Although the effects of marijuana can wear off in as little as an hour, depending on how much was consumed, regular marijuana use over a prolonged period has been linked to many other long-term psychological and physical problems, beyond heart disease.

Some long-term side effects include:

  • Heart and blood pressure issues
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Fertility concerns
  • Mood swings
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Poor mental health episodes

Although some states have legalized marijuana for medical and/or recreational purposes, it remains illegal at a federal level, and is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in clinical treatments.

However, certain drugs containing small amounts of THC are prescribed in medical settings for the treatment of certain conditions.

These drugs include Marinol®, which can be prescribed in capsule form to control nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy patients, Epidiolex®, an oral solution used to treat two types of epilepsy, and Syndros®, an oral solution used in the treatment of anorexia.

Home drug testing services you can trust

AlphaBiolabs offers two types of home drug tests, designed to give you peace of mind or enable you to seek support for a loved one who is struggling with substance misuse, including marijuana misuse.

  • Home Urine Drug Test Kit (pack of 3 – $34.95) – this easy-to-use home drug testing kit can detect drugs and their metabolites in a urine sample. The self-contained screening kit includes built-in test strips, allowing you to read the results in just 5 minutes
  • Drug and Alcohol Nail Test (from $99) – this test can detect drug use for a period of up to 12 months prior to samples being collected, with only a sample of fingernail clippings or toenail clippings required. Simply follow the instructions included in your test kit to collect your nail clipping samples and return them to our accredited laboratory for testing

Please be aware that our home drug test kits are for peace of mind only, and the results cannot be used in court or for legal reasons.

For confidential advice about which test might best suit your needs, you can email our Customer Services team at

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