Study Finds Current and Past Marijuana Use Not Associated With Increased Hypertension Risk

In a study that will come as little surprise to cannabis consumers but nevertheless is an important clarification, researchers found that marijuana use is not associated with an increase in the risk of hypertension (high blood pressure).

Conducted by researchers at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, the University of Missouri and the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine, the study was published by the Journal of Clinical Hypertension.

For the study researchers examined the relationship between marijuana use and blood pressure in a cohort of 4,565 adults. They “retrospectively evaluated data collected by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2017 to 2018.” Cannabis use was measured with five metrics: (1) sustained use at any point in the past, (2) sustained use within the past year, (3) frequency of use, (4) age of first cannabis use, and (5) current use.

Hypertension status “was determined by individuals reporting having been diagnosed in the past”, while “Multivariable logistic regressions were performed, controlling for age, race, and gender.”

Researchers found no correlation between marijuana consumption and hypertension.

“When compared with non-users, respondents who indicated sustained use of cannabis were not found to have an increased likelihood of developing hypertension”, states the study. “Among cannabis users, the frequency of use was not associated with increased odds of hypertension diagnosis. The age that an individual first began regularly using cannabis was also not found to have an association with the odds of hypertension diagnosis. Current users were not more likely than past users to have hypertension.”

The study concludes by stating that “The findings of this study indicate that neither past nor current cannabis use are associated with the likelihood of having clinical hypertension.”

The study’s full abstract can be found below.

Abstract

Cannabis is among the most used recreational and medicinal drugs in the United States. The effects of chronic use on hypertension remain poorly understood. Our study retrospectively evaluated data collected by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2017 to 2018. Cannabis use was measured with five metrics: (1) sustained use at any point in the past, (2) sustained use within the past year, (3) frequency of use, (4) age of first cannabis use, and (5) current use. Hypertension status was determined by individuals reporting having been diagnosed in the past. Multivariable logistic regressions were performed, controlling for age, race, and gender. A total of 4565 respondents were identified, of which 867 (19.0%) reported sustained cannabis use in the past. Participants who reported past sustained cannabis use did not have statistically different odds of having hypertension (OR: 1.12; 95% CI: .66-1.91; p = .6). Moderate (OR: 1.08; 95% CI: .36-3.25; p = .8) and highly-frequent users (OR: 1.30; 95% CI: .56-3.03; p = .4) did not have different odds of having hypertension than infrequent users. No relationship between the age of first cannabis use and hypertension was observed. The recency of sustained cannabis use was not associated with hypertension status. Current cannabis users had similar odds of hypertension as past users (OR: 1.03; 95% CI: .59-1.79; p = .9). The findings of this study indicate that neither past nor current cannabis use is associated with clinical hypertension.

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