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New Study Tells Nothing About Marijuana’s Role In Heart Disease


heart marijuanaBy Mitch Earlywine

A new study on marijuana appeared in Journal of the American Heart Association. These are interesting data, but we have to interpret them very carefully.

Sure, we know cannabis can raise heart rate briefly, but most users develop tolerance to the effect. We’ve also seen (in a much larger sample) that it doesn’t increase mortality rates even among survivors of heart attacks.

But the new study made the news anyway. Investigators specifically searched a French database where physicians are legally bound to report any drug-related case that they view as “leading to temporary or permanent functional incapacity or disability, to inpatient hospitalization or prolongation of existing hospitalization, to congenital anomalies, or to an immediate vital risk or death.”

They then looked for cannabis users and found a shade less than 2,000 in the past 5 years. It’s impossible to know what that number means without knowing the number of people these physicians saw or how many patients used cannabis and did not end up reported to this database.

They then found a whopping 35 of these who had cardiac complications. It is impossible to know what to make of this number without knowing the number of cannabis users in France, which the authors report is 1.2 million. If you divide 35 by 1.2 million you get roughly .00003. I’m guessing that not all these cannabis users went to the doctor and not every person who used cannabis and had cardiac complications fessed up to the doctor, so let’s say that we’re off by two orders of magnitude. Let’s give the prohibitionists the benefit of the doubt and multiply by 100. That’d put the rate of problems up to .003.

If those are the chances of having cardiac complications as a French cannabis user, my first thought is that using cannabis protects people from cardiac problems. We need a comparison group of people who don’t use cannabis to know their rate of cardiac problems, but, as the authors point out, we simply don’t have those data. The closest estimates were 57 per 10,000 people, based on another study, which is .0057, or almost twice as bad as the rate among the cannabis users (after our generous overestimation). I’m not going to hold my breath for the the headline, “Cut your heart disease in half with cannabis.”

In short, this study tells us a lot about what kinds of cardiac complications appeared in people who were reported to the French government for cannabis-related problems, but tells us little about the link between cannabis use and cardiovascular disease.

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Johnny Green


  1. All the studies on heart rate in long term users is flawed with tobacco, I was wondering what you heart rate is like since the researchers proclaim slower blood flow as a problem? Like you say I don’t believe it with all the older medical marijuana patients with no ill affects.

  2. Kayleeusa is right. They forgot to mention the binge drinking the cannabis users had done, and ignored other controls as well. Would be nice to see a real study.

  3. Smoking marijuana has never killed anyone. It can’t.

    “Dr. Mechoulam discovered why massive doses of
    cannabis hasn’t killed anybody, not one recorded death. We don’t have any
    cannabinoid Receptors CB1 or CB2 in the Medulla Oblongata, that’s the part of
    the Brain that controls Respiration and Heart rate. So massive doses of many
    other drugs or even not so massive doses cause Respiratory depression, Cardiac
    suppression and Death. Massive doses of Marijuana might make people fall a sleep
    but it doesn’t stop their breathing or heart.” ~Dr. Frank H.

  4. USpolicestate on

    You got that right. Though, when some major pharmaceutical medicine has been responsible for causing the deaths of hundreds of people all over the US, there is either a media black-out on it, or a quick light mention of it then the story is buried. Both Big Pharma and the Big Petroleum industries are in panic-mode right now over the intensity of the legalization movement. They know that it is moving forward and more people are realizing that the plant was made illegal and kept illegal over profit issues, not health issues. Big Pharma knows billions will be lost as all of the individuals with a variety of treatable illnesses,even cure cancer, now paying in the HUNDREDS per month for some insanely over priced toxic prescription will set up their own personal garden and cultivate their own medicine for pennies on the dollar and the doctors know that since they are the middle-men that give the written “authorized” approval for those toxic prescriptions to be released from the pharmacies will be cut out of the picture too as they are also bypassed by masses that start gardening.

    Then you have industrial Hemp, a plant that produces a myriad of all sorts of products, one of which is bio-diesel which could be produced cheaply , and could be produced in the US as well as Europe or anywhere else,and some graphs have shown would sell for less than $1.00 a gallon at the pump, and it produces no sulfur in the environment either and it is biodegradable and extends the life of engines with it’s lubrication properties with better MPG on top of all of this. It’s a win-win-win for the masses but major losses for the Petro-Industry. The Cannabis species of plant could easily by itself rebuild and rearrange the power structure of the US economy , bringing back a better cost of living and bring manufacturing jobs back and produce 100% of the nation’s transportation energy needs. There is no other plant in the world that can provide as many A-to-Z uses as the Cannabis plant and powerful corporate billionaires within the pharmaceutical and petroleum industries are pulling all sorts of measures behind the scenes to postpone and even prevent the inevitable of nationwide legalization. These are the real reasons why the bankers and their paid-off puppet politicians and their influenced media machines are so anti-Cannabis.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see the next civil war start when the day comes that Hemp oil refineries attempt to go into production in the states to replace gasoline as a fuel. It would be that huge of an issue to the oil oligarchs to stage a false flag behind the scenes as a justification for martial law and a complete federal lock down with military force to prevent it from happening.

  5. Young adults are where the problem really lies… this particular study may not be enough to matter… marijuana may have many beneficial uses for those who smoke it later in life, but prior to the age of 25 when the brain stops forming, there is new and very strong scientific evidence related to casual marijuana users. They used an MRI machine to compare brains of those who used and those who did not, between the ages of 18 & 25, and it showed significant differences in a couple of regions of the brain. There were two areas of the brain that it primarily affected the size of those parts. There were a few things that those areas are associated with, but two of the specific points that it has an effect on are, were the memory, and the primary pleasure center of the brain.

    PS. Just to be clear, I am not a prohibitionist, this was only to point out a fact. As it were, I was involved at one point in the war on drugs, and it is one of the biggest wastes of money ever, especially the way they are trying to fight it. I am also not a user myself, but feel that is a choice people should be able to make. Plus, I was born and raised in the heart of Humboldt County, and anyone that knows anything about marijuana, knows what that means. I have seen the good, bad, stupid, and ugly, up close and personal.

  6. Thank you for sharing.

    It will only be a matter of time before more doctors experience cases such as yours with anecdotal evidence of the benefits of cannabis use for a variety of aliments. I do hope more studies will be published with these true findings rather than the findings of flawed studies like the French one above.

  7. The huge number of “news” outlets that report on this “study” under various, frightening “Reefer Madness” headlines is nothing less than obscene and criminal ! Who is paying these “news” groups to bend and distort and LIE ??? Follow the money ! This is happening with all these anti-pot stories…

  8. Thats great we should start looking for beneficial things so we can find a cure to alot of health problems

  9. Steve Cooper on

    Wonder how much it costs these days to run an ad in a major medical journal because that is all they are doing these days. Running ads for the prohibitionist. We didn’t find it under a rock yesterday. Whether you want to admit it or not people have used it the last 42 years and the only statistical significant problem is being arrested not dying.

  10. Stephen Daniel on

    New study links DEA to marijuana prohibition. DEA and NIDA are mandated by law to lie at all cost to keep marijuana in schedule I. Even if it means putting out pseudo science articles trying to drum up fear.

  11. once it is legalised acrossed the board will more people confess to the daily smoking of cannabis but until then i can tell you smoke kills

  12. under cover brotha on

    That’s the power of the plant! Just wait though if pot is decriminalize, the money fall short totheFEDS

  13. The same happened to me with Interferon ALF 2b for HCV (60 WEEKS), Have been as low as <5,2 ANC with PLT's at < 60. I understand that interferon was used for MS. Do we have a cause and effect here. I smoke and take a load of Vits, My liver is totally norm and I am stage 3. (go figure)
    My Dr. is amazed, but cant discuss it here in Fl..
    As always the law is not on my side. At least he winks and nods turning a blind eye,
    I cant wait for all this nonsensical B S to end.

  14. Christine Garcia on

    I developed Leukemia from a drug they put me on for my Multiple Sclerosis so they put me on another one with my chemo and I developed serious liver damage. Then I got wise and got rid of the pharmacopeia and went with weed. I have never been healthier or has my MS been better! Someone needs to wise up and legalize it across the board for people like me! Hell for everyone!

  15. Gregg Asarito on

    I am in a study now, by my cardioigist, on cannibis effects on patients with heart troubles. In the last 15 years I’ve had 7 heart attacks, 30 heart surgeries, 2 pacer/defibs, numerous blood clots and 1 stroke. About 3 years ago I gave up all medicines and chose to just treat myself, with my dr’s approval, with cannabis and 1 aspirin a day. In the last 2 years I haven’t had ANY heart troubles. My pacer went from 3-4000 corrections a month to under 20 a month now. I have not had any more surgeries or heart attacks. My dr, quite frankly is amazed. I feel and look so much better> I now have alot better quality of life. In the next month I will be undergoing A series of tests to track my hearts condition. He plans on publishing the results. His words , at my last visit were ” If the tests show as much improvement , as I see in your face and spirit, I will have to recomend cannibis to all my patients. Keep doing what you are doing, maybe even do more cannibis.” Without cannabis there is no doubt in my mind I’d be dead right now. Stay strong, never give up, never give in. Thanks Gregg

  16. I’m still waiting for the breasts they promised marijuana would give men back in the 70’s.

    Or the other study that said I would now have decreased testosterone.

    Or the other study that said I would now likely be doing heroin.

    Or the other study that said I would get fungus infections from long term use.

    Or the other study that said I would go schizophrenic (believe or not, that was started back int eh 70’s too, nothing new under the sun there with that line of attack).

    Or the other study that said it caused fetal damage (that one kind of slipped off the map after it made the rounds).

    Or the other study from before I was even born, that said I would kill my family in psychosis, because that is the fate of most marijuana users (Mr Ainslinger testified to this ‘fact’ in front of Congress).

    Or the other study that said, and this one is fun as it was put out right when the big salmonella scare was happening with Sizzler Steak House and their plastic salad tubs, marijuana had the potential to carry salmonella and we suspect many more poisonings in the near future.

    Or the other study from 1977 that had Dr Jones saying by 1990 we can expect an entire nation of schitzos from marijuana use. He also said it was conclusive it caused DNA damage (which was another doozy).

    Or the other study from 1980 that said we smoke so much stronger pot now, that by 1990 we can expect to see marijuana related birth defects through the roof.

    Or the other study from 1980 that said marijuana smokers who smoke for more than 10 years, are found to not be able to reproduce.

    To be fair they already have SAID marijuana was going to give up all heart attacks.. I started smoking in 1964 and have friends for decades and none of us yet (luck, DNA, knock on wood) are dead from heart attacks yet.

    I can go on and on.. There is NOTHING new under the sun here.. Think I am joking? take a look at the headlines from 1972 and tell me how much things have changed.

  17. If only we could get the politicized propaganda media to be honest. Yeah, no; any power structure in the world relies on the monopoly of violence, and lies. It is our animalistic nature, and I don’t see that changing anytime in the next thousand years. Because, you know, the force of 2+2=5 is the religious outcome of, some animals are more equal than others. Aldous Huxley

  18. A friend was scheduled to remove an artery blockage conventionally but canceled it. All he did was to smoke pot and in 3 months his blood pressure was down and the blockage gone. That’s a fact!

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