Researchers link cannabis to stroke risks

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The World Stroke Congress says it has identified a link between strokes and cannabis use

The World Stroke Congress (WSC), held last week in Montreal, Canada, was designed to raise awareness of strokes and how they’re being treated around the world and what can be done to prevent them. The Congress was attended by professionals, stroke survivors, policy makers and caregivers from across the globe and revealed something interesting. It appears as though cannabis use can lead to strokes, according to some studies.

Through a research project that covered statistics from U.S. hospitals spanning five years, the study showed that there have been more instances of strokes among marijuana users, despite the overall rate of strokes having remained unchanged during the same period. 2.3 million hospitalizations that involved marijuana were analyzed, of which 1.4% – or 32,231 patients – had suffered a stroke. Of these, 19,452 had suffered acute ischemic stroke (AIS).

The research further revealed that the rate of strokes during the period increased from 1.3% to 1.5%. AIS rates increased from 0.7% to 0.9%. Researchers concluded that the trend is sufficient enough to “warrant further prospective studies to evaluate the marijuana-stroke association amidst legalization of recreational use.”

As the researchers point out, more studies are needed. They believe that marijuana The researchers noted in introducing their study that marijuana “has a potential link to stroke owing to cerebrovascular effects of cannabinoids;” however, there haven’t been enough studies conducted to conclusively ascertain a link between the cannabinoids and strokes. The study admittedly compared data from patients who had indicated recreational marijuana use, but there will definitely be a large percentage of patients who didn’t acknowledge their use out of fear of repercussions. The omission of this data can greatly skew any correlation between marijuana and strokes.

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