Study: No Association Between Recent Cannabis Use and Increased Stroke Risk

Jackson, MS: Cannabis exposure is not associated with an increased risk of ischemic stroke, according to observational data published in the journal Neurology: Clinical Practice.

A team of investigators affiliated with the University of Mississippi, Department of Neurology assessed whether or not those testing positive for cannabis during a hospital admission screen were more likely to suffer from an acute ischemic stroke as compared to those who tested negative.

Researchers identified no link between recent cannabis exposure and either an increased or decreased risk of stroke after adjusting for confounders such as age, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

They concluded: “Studies that have analyzed the association between cannabis use and acute ischemic stroke have provided conflicting results. … This is one of the few studies analyzing the association of recent cannabis use and acute ischemic stroke using admission urine toxicology test independent of polysubstance use. Even though our study has limitations, we did not find an independent association between recent cannabis use and the incidence of acute ischemic stroke. Further studies utilizing urine toxicology tests with larger sample size and including dosage of cannabis exposure should be done.”

The findings are inconsistent with those of a 2019 study published in the International Journal of Stroke which reported a higher risk of younger-onset stroke-related hospitalization among those who with a history of cannabis use. NORML has long cautioned that those with a history of cardiovascular disease may be at greater potential risk for adverse events from cannabis exposure.

Full text of the study, “Association between recent cannabinoid use and acute ischemic stroke,” appears in Neurology: Clinical Practice.