Cannabis & Increased Risk of Stroke
Results from a recent New Zealand study were presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2013, stating that smoking cannabis was linked to an increased risk of stroke. In fact, the study found that patients with ischemic stroke/transient ischemic attack (TIA) were two times as likely to have used cannabis in the recent past.1 According to the study’s lead author, Alan Barber, Ph.D., M.D., from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, cannabis has more serious adverse effects than researchers previously thought.1
One-hundred-sixty study participants were tested for cannabis use within 72 hours of hospital admission for TIA.1 Surprisingly, 16 percent of participants tested positive for cannabis use.1 No other illicit drugs were found in any participant’s screening.1 Therefore, according to Barber, the link between cannabis use and TIA is reasonable, as cannabis is known to increase sympathetic and parasympathetic activity, as well as increase heart rate.1 Also, cannabis use decreases the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood.1 It has also been found that cannabis use is linked to a five time increase in heart attacks within the 60 minutes following the use, as well as unexplained cardiovascular death.1
 Hughes, S. (2013, February 6). Cannabis-Stroke Link: First Case-Control Study. Medscape News Today. Retrieved February 11, 2013, from http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/778865?nlid=27862_1049&src=wnl_edit_dail. Stroke.