Smoking marijuana may increase the risk of stroke in young adults, according to a new study.
New Zealand researchers reviewed the urine samples of 160 stroke sufferers between the ages of 18 and 55. They found that the patients were more than twice as likely to have marijuana in their systems.
Study author Dr. P. Alan Barber, a professor of clinical neurology at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, said in a statement:
“Cannabis has been thought by the public to be a relatively safe, although illegal substance. This study shows this might not be the case; it may lead to stroke.”
The researchers also found that 16 percent of the study subjects who went to the hospital following a stroke had marijuana in system compared to 8.1 percent of control subjects. Barber said that there were cases of people with no other vascular risk factors for stroke or a “mini” or “warning” stroke have an attack hours after smoking pot. While some of the subjects also had tobacco in their systems, Barber believes that marijuana was the main cause.
“For starters, this is a young age group to be having strokes, and many didn’t have any of the traditional risk factors. And some patients had a stroke while actually smoking cannabis,” Barber told EverydayHealth. “We know cannabis can cause changes in blood pressure and heart rate that are associated with increased stroke risk.”
While the study makes no mention of synthetic marijuana, there is evidence that “spice” can also trigger strokes. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Emily Bauer, a 16-year-old from Cypress, Texas, bought synthetic marijuana at a gas station and suffered several strokes because of it. Bauer experienced migraines, hallucinations and violent behavior and had to be sedated after being taken to the hospital. She was eventually put in a medically induced coma before making a miraculous recovery.
Another health risk associated with marijuana use is testicular cancer. Scientists at the University of Southern California found that pot smoking raised the chances of developing non-seminoma tumors among males in their early teens to mid-30s. However, the lifetime rate of that particular type of cancers is only slightly more than 1 percent.
The study was presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference in Honolulu on February 6.