Preclinical studies have reported acute cardiovascular effects of cannabis, including a dose-dependent increase in blood pressure (BP), whereas orthostatic hypotension may follow as a result of decreased vascular resistance. In case reports, evidence links cannabis with acute cardiovascular events in young and middle-aged adults. Here, we offer epidemiologic estimates on cannabis use and BP levels association from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys 2005–2012 (n = 12 426).
Computer-assisted self-interviews assessed cannabis use. BP was determined by an average of up to four measurements taken during a single examination. Regression modeling was used to examine cannabis use and BP association.
Recently active cannabis use was associated with increase in SBP (β = 1.6; 95% confidence interval: 0.6, 2.7) in the age–sex-adjusted model. Additional covariate adjustment did not affect the positive association. No association between cannabis use and DBP was detected.
A modest association between recent cannabis use and SBP was detected among a relatively large nationally representative sample of US adults. With the legalization of cannabis, there is a need for preclinical, clinical and prospective population-based research on the cardiovascular effects of cannabis use.