Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


Cannabis Linked To Higher Stroke Risk In Young Adults

Smoking Cannabis Linked To Higher Stroke Risk In Young Adults

Cannabis use may double the stroke risk in young adults, according to a recent study by researchers in the Centre for Brain Research at The University of Auckland.

The study showed that ischemic stroke and transient ischemic attack (TIA) patients were 2.3 times more likely to have cannabis detected in urine tests as other age and sex matched patients.

“This is the first case-controlled study to show a possible link to the increased risk of stroke from cannabis,” said Professor Alan Barber, lead investigator for the study and Neurological Foundation professor of clinical neurology at the University. “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.”

Professor Barber this week presented the study findings to the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2013 in Honolulu. The study included 160 ischemic stroke/TIA patients aged 18-55 years who had urine screens upon admission to the hospital.

Among the patients, 150 had ischemic stroke and 10 had TIAs. Sixteen percent of patients tested positive for cannabis, and were mostly male who also smoked tobacco, while only 8.1 percent of controls tested positive for cannabis in urine samples. Researchers found no differences in age, stroke mechanism or most vascular risk factors between cannabis users and non-users.

In previous case reports, ischemic stroke and TIAs developed hours after cannabis use, says Professor Barber. “These patients usually had no other vascular risk factors apart from tobacco, alcohol and other drug usage. It’s challenging to perform prospective studies involving illegal substances such as cannabis because “questioning stroke and control patients about cannabis use is likely to obtain unreliable responses,” he says.

The study provides the strongest evidence to date of an association between cannabis and stroke, says Professor Barber. But the association is confounded because all but one of the stroke patients who were cannabis users also used tobacco regularly.

“We believe it is the cannabis use and not tobacco,” says Professor Barber, who hopes to conduct another study to determine whether there’s an association between cannabis and stroke independent of tobacco use.

“This may prove difficult given the risks of bias and ethical strictures of studying the use of an illegal substance,” he says. “However, the high prevalence of cannabis use in this cohort of younger stroke patients makes this research imperative.”

Physicians should test young people who come in with stroke for cannabis use, says Professor Barber. “People need to think twice about using cannabis, because it can affect brain development and result in emphysema, heart attack and now stroke.”

The study was funded by the Auckland District Health Board’s A+ Trust. Co-authors were: Dr Neil E. Anderson (ADHB), Dr Heidi Pridmore, Dr Venkatesh Krishnamurthy, Dr Sally Roberts, Dr David A. Spriggs, and Dr Kristie Carter.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Kiwi Pride: Accolades For Film About Man Who Falls In Love With A Stick

A short animated film written and directed by New Zealand born Matthew Darragh has been selected for the Courts des îles, International Festival of Short Fiction Films. More>>

ALSO:

Anniversaries: Vivid Memories Four Years After Christchurch Quake

Four years ago, an earthquake that would change the lives of thousands shook Christchurch at 12.51 p.m. More>>

ALSO:

Environment 'n' Conservation: Slash Meets Tāne The Tuatara

Rock and Roll superstar and former Guns 'n' Roses guitarist Slash visited Zealandia Ecosanctuary along with collaborating band Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. More>>

Foo Fighters: Exclusive Show In Support Of Music Foundation

Frontier Touring has today announced that the Foo Fighters will play a last minute intimate and exclusive benefit show at the Auckland Town Hall this Friday February 20 with all profits going to The New Zealand Music Foundation. More>>

ALSO:

Canterbury Quakes: Feedback Sought On Short-Listed Memorial Designs

Six short-listed designs for the Canterbury Earthquake Memorial have been released for public input... The Memorial will honour the victims of Canterbury’s earthquakes and acknowledge the suffering of all those who lived through them as well as the heroism of those who participated in the rescue and recovery operations. More>>

ALSO:

Celia Lashlie: Legacy Will Live On

Social justice advocate Celia Lashlie leaves a legacy that will continue to have a positive impact on the lives of New Zealanders for years to come, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “Celia was a powerful voice for reason, sense and compassion. Her work, particularly with teenage boys, was ground-breaking." More>>

ALSO:

Obituary: Sad Farewell To PPTA Activist Robin Duff

Duff has been a long-time fixture of the association... Most recently Duff has been working hard to support Canterbury teachers through the quakes that devastated the region. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news