Questions abound concerning the health impacts of using marijuana. There is no need to be coy here at all, so the answer is that the world is still quite ignorant on the topic. With nearly 500 active compounds found in the cannabis plant, science is no where close to uncovering all of its secrets or how using marijuana impacts health. While there is a lot of superficial research, and finding an article about someone that claims to have figured it all out is just a Google search away, science is more about in-depth rigorous research than most of what the public finds. It is a true scientist’s intent to unearth every benefit and drawback of a plant as complicated as cannabis offers.
Last month an interesting report did come out discussing the health impacts of cannabis and its science. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is made up of minds from the some of the best universities in the country and took into account over 10,000 studies. Mostly the report noted that the world is still trying to find the answers to many of the questions about cannabis use, such as whether cannabis can have a negative impact on heart disease. The report also concluded that many of the studies form 2017 were simply not in-depth enough to warrant credibility.
Within a few minutes of inhaling marijuana, your heart rate can increase by between 20 and 50 beats a minute. This can last anywhere from 20 minutes to three hours, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The report from the National Academies found insufficient evidence to support or refute the idea that cannabis might increase the overall risk of a heart attack. The same report, however, also found some limited evidence that smoking could be a trigger for a heart attack.
In August, a study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology appeared to suggest that marijuana smokers face a threefold higher risk of dying from high blood pressure than people who have never smoked. But the study came with an important caveat: it defined a “marijuana user” as anyone who’d ever tried the drug.
There are other studies that suggest that using marijuana could actually combat hypertension. There is strong evidence that cannabidiol can truly relieve chronic pain and help reduce seizures in epileptic patients. In the end, we are all still trying to understand marijuana beyond the anecdotal stories told by both advocates and opponents. What we should understand is that as the expansion of cannabis legalization continues, it behooves the scientific community to conduct the rigorous research necessary to keep those that are using marijuana, for recreational or medical reasons, informed.