The study in question appeared in the Canadian Medical Association Journal this week before being featured in a CNN piece, notably under a headline informing readers that “young adult cannabis consumers [are] nearly twice as likely to suffer from a heart attack.”
Those behind the study analyzed data from more than 33,000 “young adults” between the ages of 18 and 44, ultimately determining that of the 17 percent of adults who said they had recently used weed, 1.3 percent had a history of myocardial infarction (i.e. heart attack). Meanwhile, per the ensuing report, 0.8 percent of respondents who said they had not recently used weed reported a history of myocardial infarction.
Asked by Complex for his take on the coverage surrounding this study, Paul Armentano—the Deputy Director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) nonprofit—noted that data of this type has been “frustratingly inconsistent.”
Armentano pointed Complex to several examples of this inconsistency, including a literature review published in the American Journal of Medicine earlier this year in which it was concluded that marijuana itself “does not appear to be independently associated with excessive cardiovascular risk factors.”
Pointed out in the same previously published review highlighted by Armentano is the potential for “other unhealthy behaviors” to be associated with marijuana, though marijuana alone wasn’t linked with cardiovascular concerns. In other words, let this serve as merely the latest reminder that correlation does not necessarily equal causation.