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A study done in the US shows daily users of cannabis have a 25 percent increased risk of heart attack and a 42 percent higher chance of a stroke.

A study done in the US shows daily users of cannabis have a 25 per cent increased risk of heart attack and a 42 per cent higher chance of a stroke.



New studies reveal cannabis is linked to lung and heart disease

The perception that marijuana is relatively harmless is being challenged by new research done in the US and backed by Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ.

New evidence has emerged linking cannabis to massive health issues such as lung and heart disease potentially leading to cancer.

Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ (ARFNZ) says the research challenges the common misconception that the drug is harmless and recreational.

Studies were conducted by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States with over 430,000 people across 27 states involved.

A NZ Health survey found that between 2022 and 2023, eight per cent of 15 - 24-year-olds use cannabis weekly, and 24 per cent of that age range are monthly users.

With many cannabis smokers drawn to the relaxing, de-stressing, and pain relieving effects of the drug, ARFNZ states it's important to realise it also causes damage to the lungs and heart.

Its Chief Executive Letitia Harding spoke on Pacific Mornings saying the ARFNZ backs the study and their aim is to inform and educate people on the long-lasting harm of cannabis.

“We’ve always known that our young people tend to lean towards using this drug but I think it’s really hard to get an accurate percentage because you’re not really gonna get young people wanting to report that they’re using cannabis.

“The big thing here is that misconception of what this study is showing and what New Zealand literature is showing as well is that this is actually a harmful substance.”

Harding says the study, published in the highly credited American Heart Association Journal, revealed people who were daily cannabis users had a 25 per cent increased risk of a heart attack and a 42 per cent increased risk of stroke.

“Here we have something which is saying this has got damaging long-term effects on your heart and our youth need to be aware of that."

Catch the full interview with Letitia Harding on Pacific Mornings below.