Can marijuana cause strokes?

Discussion in 'Medicinal Cannabis and Health' started by TokinChick, Sep 8, 2007.

  1. TokinChick

    TokinChick Registered+

    Hi everyone,

    This may seem like an odd question but wondering if marijuana can cause strokes, aneurysms, things like that because of these articles I read:

    Marijuana makes blood rush to the head - health - 07 February 2005 - New Scientist
    AlterNet: DrugReporter: A Rush of Blood to the Head
    Science News: Health: In Brief: Addictions: Pot head

    and what about this one:

    Marijuana Use and Increased Risk of Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck -- Zhang et al. 8 (12): 1071 -- Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention

    I know the last one is about cancer. I've read so many things, like mj does NOT cause cancer then you read it might....

    Is this BS from anti-drug establishments trying to make marijuana look more dangerous than it is or is this valid?

    All this information freaks me out and I need to know what to believe and what is safe and what is not.

  2. BobBong

    BobBong Registered+

    What is a stroke?

    A stroke is a sudden loss of brain function. It is caused by the interruption of flow of blood to the brain (ischemic stroke) or the rupture of blood vessels in the brain (hemorrhagic stroke). The interruption of blood flow or the rupture of blood vessels causes brain cells (neurons) in the affected area to die. The effects of a stroke depend on where the brain was injured, as well as how much damage occurred. A stroke can impact any number of areas including your ability to move, see, remember, speak, reason and read and write.

    In a small number of cases, stroke-like damage to the brain can occur when the heart stops (cardiac arrest). The longer the brain goes without the oxygen and nutrients supplied by the blood flow, the greater the risk of permanent brain damage. Brain injuries can also result in uncontrolled bleeding and permanent brain damage. This is usually referred to as an Acquired Brain Injury.

    Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

    What is a TIA or transient ischemic attack?

    A TIA is a "warning stroke" or "mini-stroke" that produces stroke-like symptoms but no lasting damage. Recognizing and treating TIAs can reduce your risk of a major stroke.

    Most strokes aren't preceded by TIAs. However, of the people who've had one or more TIAs, more than a third will later have a stroke. In fact, a person who's had one or more TIAs is more likely to have a stroke than someone of the same age and sex who hasn't.

    TIAs are important in predicting if a stroke will occur rather than when one will happen. They can occur days, weeks or even months before a major stroke. In about half the cases, the stroke occurs within one year of the TIA.

    What causes a transient ischemic attack?

    TIAs occur when a blood clot temporarily clogs an artery, and part of the brain doesn't get the blood it needs. The symptoms occur rapidly and last a relatively short time. Most TIAs last less than five minutes. The average is about a minute. Unlike stroke, when a TIA is over, there's no injury to the brain.

    Read and decide for yourself!
  3. Dave Byrd

    Dave Byrd Registered+

    Good information, guys.

    Even before the study information in your links came out, Tokin Chick, there was fairly good evidence that cannabis could put people at higher risk of embolic (clot or plaque-particle caused) strokes, just as it puts them at increased risk of heart attacks, too, especially soon after smoking. The higher blood flow velocity and increased pulsatility index data persuades me that it could easily boost hemorrhagic stroke and aneurysm risk, too, and make those events much worse when they happen.

    What the jury's still out on is whether that's caused by the smoking itself, which raises vascular pressureand speeds up the circulatory rate, or whether it's caused by the active ingredients in cannabis. I'm betting it's more likely the smoking and that if they did those same tests on people who use vaporizers, they'd see different results. Weed's circulatory effects, at least for whole smoked weed, have always been among the bad news about the stuff.
  4. Storm Crow

    Storm Crow Registered+

  5. TokinChick

    TokinChick Registered+

    Thanks for the info.

    One thing I did notice when reading these articles was the quantity smoked.

    11 joints per week is considered light, 44 joints per week is considered moderate and 131 joints per week is considered heavy use.

    How is it possible to smoke 131 joints per week? Or even 44? I thought I was a pretty heavy smoker and the most I would say I ever smoked was like 14 joints a week at the very heaviest point with the average being around 7 joints per week.

    So for someone like me who never goes to even the moderate level the risk would be low and would go away once I stopped smoking?

    I wonder what the risk is for someone who smokes, say, a joint a week or something. I wonder if their blood flow takes a month to return to normal or if there is basically zero risk for such light use.

    I wish more studies would be done which focus on average smokers not people who smoke 131 joints a week!
  6. Dave Byrd

    Dave Byrd Registered+

    Those links of yours deal wtih cannabis isolates and active compounds, though, Storm Crow. Not whole smoked cannabis. That's what makes those abstracts and summary links so dangerous here, if you ask me, because so many blind cannabis optimists want to misinterpret and conclude that it means the same thing for smoked cannabis or for humans. A huge percentage of that research has been done on lab mice. So the neuroprotective effects of CBD or THC in mice doesn't by any means mean the same protective effects are true about whole, smoked cannabis for humans. Not by a long stretch.
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