Secondhand Marijuana smoke may hamper cardiovascular function

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on July 29, 2016.

Inhaling secondhand marijuana smoke even for just one-minute can hamper blood vessels more than secondhand tobacco smoke ; it also adversely affect cardiovascular function, according to a new study done in rats.

In the study, published on July 27 in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the researchers showed how well blood vessels carried blood in a group of eight rats before and after the rats were exposed to secondhand marijuana as well as tobacco smoke for 1 minute.

"Arteries of rats and humans are similar in how they respond to secondhand tobacco smoke, so the response of rat arteries to secondhand marijuana smoke is likely to reflect how human arteries might respond," said Matthew Springer, Professor at the University of California, San Francisco and the senior author of the study.

The researchers found that one minute of exposure to secondhand marijuana smoke produced reduced arterial blood flow for at least 90 minutes. By contrast, one minute of secondhand tobacco exposure caused the same impairment for only 30 minutes.

The study only studied the short-term effects of inhaling the smoke, though Springer said that repeated exposure could lead to long-term problems. It also added that neither tetrahydrocannabinol (THC ), the active ingredient of Marijuana, nor chemicals in rolling papers were responsible for its effects on blood vessels, which was attributed to the general practice of burning a plant.

Marijuana is being legalized in certain states in the USA for recreational or medicinal purposes or for both.  It has also been the most commonly sought after drug across the nation, meaning an increasing number of people are likely to be exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke. Hence, the study is certainly an alarming finding to understand the health consequences of second-hand marijuana smoke exposure.

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