The longer a person uses marijuana, the more the
risk increases for developing conditions linked to
heart disease, stroke and diabetes, according to a
recent study by researchers in the School of Public
Health at Georgia State University.
“Duration of marijuana use seems to be a significant
factor associated with metabolic syndrome,” the
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of symptoms that
increase a person’s risk for heart disease, stroke
The study found that “every year increase in
marijuana use is associated with at least a 5
percent increase in odds of having metabolic
To examine the relationship between marijuana use
and metabolic syndrome, the researchers gathered
data on 3,051 adults age 20 and older from the
National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
The survey included subjects who reported using
marijuana or hashish even once during their
Participants were classified as regular marijuana
users if they responded they had used marijuana at
least once a month for more than a year.
The relationship of their years of marijuana use
with metabolic syndrome was assessed in the study
using different criteria for defining metabolic
The study noted that the most common form of
marijuana consumption is smoking, but the original
survey also included participants who consumed
edible marijuana products and hashish.
It did not ask participants to specify how they used
While criteria for diagnosing metabolic syndrome are
not settled, there are four commonly accepted signs
of the disease: high blood pressure, high blood
sugar, high concentrations of fat in the blood and
excess abdominal fat.
“Irrespective of the criteria for metabolic
syndrome, each year of marijuana use showed
increased odds of having metabolic syndrome,” the
“This may constitute an important pathway between
marijuana use and cardiovascular disease in later
Marijuana is a psychoactive drug that induces
relaxation and euphoria and is illegal under federal
By the end of 2016, 28 states had legalized
marijuana for medical use, and eight states and the
District of Columbia had permitted recreational use
of marijuana, according to the study.
The study’s authors also include Georgia State
public health faculty members Dr. Ike S. Okosun, Dr.
Richard Rothenberg, Dr. Sheryl Strasser and Dr. Kim
For more information
Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy
Relationship between Years of Marijuana Use and the
Four Main Diagnostic Criteria for Metabolic Syndrome
among United States Adults
Barbara A Yankey, Richard Rothenberg, Sheryl
Strasser, Kim Ramsey-White and Ike S Okosun.
Georgia State University