According to a study, using marijuana has been connected to changes in the structure of the human heart.
Researchers interviewed and assessed heart the scans of 3,407 participants for the study and found that users who used marijuana regularly were more likely to have a larger left ventricle. This is the part of the heart that is the main pumping chamber.
The study also revealed that these users had early signs of impairment of heart function compared to those who rarely or never used the drug.
Volunteers in the study were placed into three categories: 1. those who said they used cannabis never or less than once a month, 2. previous regular use at daily or weekly up to five years before the interview, and 3. current regular or daily or weekly within the past five years.
The volunteers were aged 62 on average with 47 being regular users, 105 previously used the drug regularly, and 3,255 had rarely or never used weed.
However, there were no differences between the groups for the overall mass of the left ventricle, the amount of blood ejected with each heart beat, or the size and function of the other three chambers of the heart.
“Health care professionals and policy makers may need to advise caution on regular recreational cannabis use until such systematic research is available,” said the researchers.
Lead author Dr. Mohammed Khanji, senior clinical lecturer at Queen Mary, University of London in the U.K., told Newsweek: “Although a lot of research has been published on the effects of smoking cigarettes much less is known about the effects of recreational cannabis use.”
He remarked, “It is unclear whether the associations observed are due to cannabis use alone or other unmeasured confounding factors.”
The study was published in the journal JACC Cardiovascular Imaging.