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Melissa Hutsell is an award-winning freelance journalist with a deep rooted passion for both community and international journalism. She was born and raised in Northern California, and has lived, studied, worked, and traveled in more 20 different countries. Melissa holds a Masters degree in Global Journalism from City University London, as well as degrees in Journalism and Globalization from Humboldt State University. Though she covers various topics as both a writer and editor, she specializes in business and cannabis journalism.
When the topics of health and cannabis converge, we often discuss the positive effects our bodies receive from the plant. Time and time again, the human experience has shown cannabis to be beneficial to our health. But, as we learn more about the substance, we learn more about its risks.
One recent study has examined the ongoing affects of cannabis consumption on the heart. Their findings: the risk of death from hypertension is more than three times higher among cannabis users versus non-users.
The article’s author notes, however, that the study fails to define a marijuana user, therefore limiting results. Anyone who answered “yes” to ever using marijuana or hashish was classified as a user. Those who answered “no” were not. This, for example, does not differentiate the difference between someone who’s tried it once or twice from daily consumers. Researchers recognized both as “regular users”.
The study also fails to disguise the type of cannabis used, which comes in many forms — some of which are highly regulated, whereas others are not. Unregulated cannabis can have damaging residuals from pesticides or mold.
Researchers linked usage to hypertension by pulling “data with statistics on death from all causes, pulled from the US National Center for Health Statistics, and adjusted it to rule out any factors that could muddle the results, like gender, race, and a history of smoking tobacco”.
Health experts know that cannabis affects the heart (beat per minute increase by 20–50 after using cannabis); however, they don’t know how. While there may be a definite link, correlation does not equal causation.