Marijuana's Effects on Circulatory System

By Kristeen Cherney

According to drug-addiction.com, about 37 percent of Americans over the age of 12 have tried marijuana, which makes it the most widely used of all illicit drugs. Although some people smoke marijuana for medicinal purposes, it is a common recreational drug. Regardless of the purpose, marijuana usage harms your circulatory system.

The Facts

Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the primary chemical in marijuana that affects the circulatory system. Drug-addiction.com states that smoking marijuana affects the circulatory system more than any other mode of using the drug, because higher levels of THC go into the blood. Marijuana also is sometimes used to brew tea or added to foods. Despite the health risks, users are attracted to marijuana because of THC's psychoactive effects.

Heart Rate

Tachycardia, or an increase in heart rate, is marijuana’s primary effect on the circulatory system. According to the Colorado State University’s Department of Alcohol and Drug Education and Prevention, your heart rate can rise by 50 percent. Effects on the heart rate occur within minutes of using marijuana.

Blood Pressure

Colorado State University also states that marijuana usage increases your blood pressure, whether you have a history of hypertension or not. This increase is most detrimental if you have existing high blood pressure problems. The effects of marijuana on your blood pressure directly correlate with effects on the heart, the the other main component of your circulatory system.

Limits of Research

According to whitman.edu, there is not enough evidence to prove that marijuana is dangerous to every person's circulatory system. The website states that there has never been a recorded incident in which someone has died as a result of complications with the circulatory system from marijuana. In fact, marijuana’s effects on the heart and blood pressure are similar to stress-induced circulatory effects.

Warning

Despite speculations, the fact remains that marijuana does affect your circulatory system, and its further effects on your health may not be predictable. You should especially be wary if you have circulatory problems, such as high blood pressure and heart disease. The dangers are even greater if you use other drugs or drink alcohol while using marijuana.

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