Marijuana use linked to much higher risk of peripheral artery disease

Marijuana users are much more likely to have peripheral artery disease (PAD) than nonusers, according to new data presented Thursday, May 18, at the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI) 2023 Scientific Sessions.

The study’s authors tracked data from the National Inpatient Sample, focusing on the years 2016 to 2019. After identifying approximately 30 million patients, the group determined that more than 623,000 were marijuana users. These patients were an average age of 37.4 years old, and the group was evenly divided between men and women. Nearly 2,500 (0.38%) of marijuana users also were diagnosed with PAD.

Overall, the research team determined that marijuana users were more than three times as likely to have a PAD diagnosis than nonusers.

“With the increase in marijuana use in the U.S., our findings show that users should be aware of the symptoms of PAD such as leg pain while walking, slower or no hair growth and feelings of coldness in the leg,” lead author Hirva Vyas, DO, with Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, New Jersey, said in a statement. “We know PAD is a progressive disease that can drastically impact quality of life, making ongoing monitoring of this patient population critical.”

Marijuana users were not more likely to die or require percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), the group noted.

Use of the drug is skyrocketing across the United States as it becomes legal, even without a medical marijuana card, in more and more states. With so little known about its long-term impact on health, researchers throughout the country—and the world—are working to learn as much as possible about this increasingly important subject. Previous research about how marijuana use may impact cardiovascular health can be read here, here, here and here.

Additional information about SCAI 2023 Scientific Sessions in Phoenix is available here. The conference runs from May 18 to May 20.

Michael Walter
Michael Walter, Managing Editor

Michael has more than 16 years of experience as a professional writer and editor. He has written at length about cardiology, radiology, artificial intelligence and other key healthcare topics.

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