The findings were published on December 18 in JACC Cardiovascular Imaging.
McLaughlin characterized the study as a "hypothesis generator", rather than a solid result.
"It's not a definitive answer in any way, but it gives us reasons to investigate the effect of marijuana on the structure of the heart," he said.
Because the study was observational, it is difficult to know if other factors could have caused the changes in cardiac structure associated with marijuana use, McLaughlin said.
"Alcohol can also cause similar changes in the left ventricle with chronic consumption, which can improve when people stop drinking," he said. "They said they adjusted alcohol consumption in this study, but the question is whether the use was properly evaluated."
Europeans are also known to mix their marijuana with tobacco, which has notoriously harmful effects on the heart, said Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML, a group that advocates for the reform of US marijuana laws. UU.
Experts also noted that the number of marijuana users in this study was very small.
"Replicas with more extensive measures and a dramatically larger sample of cannabis users seem fairly justified," said Mitch Earleywine, a professor of psychology at the University of Albany-State University in New York and a member of the NORML advisory board.
If marijuana is the cause, it's hard to say what exactly marijuana affects the heart, doctors say.
It could be the smoke that is being inhaled that puts pressure on the heart, or it could be THC, the chemical in the pot that lifts you, said Dr. Larry Allen, professor of cardiology at the University of Colorado in Aurora.
THC has been shown to increase heart rate and blood pressure, make blood clot more easily and affects the inner lining of blood vessels, he said.
"We have some basic laboratory data that suggest there may be adverse health effects of THC," Allen said.
Until there are more answers, people with heart problems may want to avoid marijuana, experts said.
"If you have heart disease, you should really use marijuana with caution," Gulati said. "In fact, I, as a cardiologist, would recommend that you not use it because of the physiological effects of increasing your heart rate and putting more demand and stress on your heart."
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SOURCES: Mary Ann McLaughlin, M.D., cardiologist and associate professor, medicine, The Mount Sinai Hospital, New York; Martha Gulati, M.D., M.S., editor in chief, CardioSmart.org, Washington, D.C .; Paul Armentano, deputy director, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, Washington, D.C .; Mitch Earleywine, Ph.D., professor, psychology, University of Albany-SUNY, Albany, N.Y .; Larry Allen, M.D., professor, cardiology, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora;JACC Cardiovascular ImagingDecember 18, 2019
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