Marijuana use is associated with strokes in users who have narrower brain arteries caused by a buildup of plaque, new research concludes.
A study on the matter conduced at the University Hospital of Strasbourg in France is scheduled to be published Nov. 3 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Researchers looked at patients under 45 who had ischemic stroke between 2005 to 2014, according to a summary. Of 334 patients, 58 were marijuana users.
“Ischemic stroke is caused by a blockage that interrupts or reduces blood flow to the brain as opposed to hemorrhagic stroke, which occurs when a blood vessel in the brain leaks or ruptures,” the summary explained.
Here’s the money conclusion:
In marijuana users in the study, ischemic stroke was more likely to be caused by intracranial arterial stenosis, a condition where there is narrowing the arteries inside the skull caused by a buildup of plaque. Intracranial arterial stenosis was found in 45 percent of the marijuana users in the study compared to 14 percent of the non-users.
However, while these patients were more likely to be younger and male, they were also more likely to be tobacco smokers and have other stroke-attracting factors in their lifestyles, researchers said.
“Fighting stroke must remain a priority, including in young adults,” said the authors, led by Valerie Wolff, M.D., PhD. “The first step may be to inform the public regarding the potential occurrence of stroke associated with cannabis and other lifestyle risk factors.”