Monday, 1 July 2013

Cannabis use in young adults linked to increased chance of stroke

A startling new study conducted in New Zealand has shown a possible link between the use of cannabis in young adults and the possibility of suffering from an ischemic stroke or attack. Based around a group of 18-55 year old participants, this new connection shows an alarming possibility cannabis to be linked to such a severe health issue. (For more information about Cannabis visit the Life Works Community Website)

This new research is at the forefront in this area, casting new light on the possible negative side effects associated with regular use of the drug, something many may not be considering as possible. “Cannabis has been thought by the public to be a relatively safe, although illegal substance. This study shows this might not be the case; it may lead to stroke” States professor Alan Barber.

While there is general knowledge that using cannabis can cause mental impairment in very young smokers, little is known or appreciated by the masses beyond this, with many even holding the opinion that cannabis is a completely benign substance for anyone to partake of.

This recent study appears to show that cases of ischemic strokes are connected with cannabis use several hours before the incident, with patients usually displaying  “no other vascular risk factors apart from tobacco, alcohol and other drug usage.”

While interesting, the above sentence shows a core issue with this research. Although the results of the study show a connection, there is no causation; we do not truly know for certain that cannabis is responsible for these attacks. It may be entirely likely that tobacco is the culprit, with the majority of cannabis users rolling joints with tobacco inside for ease of use or money saving purposes.

It is important that such possibilities are considered. Personal and inherited health issues may make individuals involved in these studies more prone to such attacks, combined with the possibility that tobacco is a contributing factor. While this does not dismiss the possibility of cannabis being the cause of such an increase in stroke possibility, consideration of these extra factors is key for accurate research.

Traditionally, studies concerning cannabis and its link to various health issues have been a complicated task for researchers due to the illegal nature. While analysis of the drug itself is not a common issue, it has proved difficult for researchers to conduct accurate and relevant studies on cannabis. As a result of this, studies such as these are a valuable source of new insight on cannabis.