Marijuana Use Associated with Higher Stroke, Bleeding Risks After Heart Procedures

Marijuana leaves.

Study finds some complications, but no significant difference in risk of death.

A new publication reports people who use marijuana were more likely to experience complications after a common minimally invasive procedure to restore blood flow through the arteries.

Nearly 4,000 of the more than 100,000 people who underwent percutaneous coronary intervention in Michigan between 2013 and 2016 reported having used marijuana. Those patients had a significantly higher risk of bleeding and cerebrovascular accidents like a stroke. However, risk of death was not significantly different between the two groups.

"Clinicians and patients should be aware of increased risk of post-PCI complications in these patients," the study authors wrote.

In addition, researchers found that patients who reported using marijuana had a lower risk of acute kidney injury.

“Although people who smoke marijuana may be at higher risk for complications such as stroke and post-PCI bleeding, this should not deter patients who use or have used marijuana from pursuing potentially life-saving PCI procedures,” said lead author Sang Gune (Kyle) Yoo, MD, a resident physician at University of Michigan Health, in an American Heart Association story.

“With the increasing use of marijuana and cannabis products, continued research is desperately needed to understand the health effects of marijuana use so that we can have well informed conversations with our patients,” said study author Devraj Sukul, MD, an interventional cardiologist at the University of Michigan Health Frankel Cardiovascular Center.

The study comes from the Michigan Cardiovascular Consortium, known as BMC2, which is housed at University of Michigan Health and includes collaborators from institutions across the state that participate in the quality improvement initiative.

Yoo previously presented the findings at the 2020 American Heart Association Scientific Sessions.

The researchers were funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, although this content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH, nor of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, which funds the BMC2 coordinating center.

Paper cited: "Marijuana Use and In-Hospital Outcomes After Percutaneous Coronary Intervention in Michigan, United States," JACC: Cardiovascular InterventionsDOI: 10.1016/j.jcin.2021.06.036