Researchers are still trying to find out more about the long-term effects of smoking weed, given the wave of legislation that sweeps the nation in favor of recreational marijuana.
As it turns out, a new piece of research featured in the Journal of the American Heart Association has revealed that secondhand marijuana smoke could be just as bad for your blood vessels as tobacco smoke.
The study called “One Minute of Marijuana Secondhand Smoke Exposure Substantially Impairs Vascular Endothelial Function” was conducted by Dr. Xiaoyin Wang, in partnership with the Division of Cardiology of the University of California in San Francisco.
Dr. Wang was motivated to lead the study by the theory that secondhand marijuana smoke is harmless, at least when compared to secondhand tobacco smoke.
For the study, researchers exposed rats to marijuana and tobacco smoke. Results showed their heart function and blood vessels responded in the same way, pointing out to a new theory: marijuana could be as harmful to heart function as tobacco.
Even though some critics claim that rats’ results might not translate the same to humans’, the researchers said that a rat’s system is close enough to the human’s system.
The experiment involved Marlboro cigarettes and marijuana cigarettes whose effects were measured with a FMD test for a specific type of artery dilation. The FMD test allowed the team to measure the blood flow in the femoral arteries.
At the same time, the test also helped determine how much time passed until the artery recovered from the smoke’s harmful effect. Surprisingly, the investigation revealed that the artery flow of rats exposed to marijuana took longer to recover (90 minutes) compared to rats exposed to tobacco cigarettes (30 minutes).
This study adds to a great amount of investigations that try to determine the effects of marijuana on the health of the human body. However, there is still no strong evidence to back up a clear policy about the use of recreational marijuana.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that marijuana use has seen a considerable spike within the past 20 years. At the moment, the youngest population in U.S. consumes more marijuana per day than alcohol and tobacco cigarettes.