Why we Think It’s Important: 

This article highlights the increasing prevalence of cannabis use and its potential impact on cardiovascular health, as revealed by a recent study utilizing data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS).  


Cannabis, once considered a recreational substance with minimal health risks, has undergone a transformative shift in public perception and usage patterns. With the increasing prevalence of cannabis use across the United States, concerns regarding its potential health implications, particularly on cardiovascular health, have come to the forefront. A recent study delved into this critical issue, shedding light on the intricate association between cannabis use and cardiovascular outcomes among diverse segments of the population. Here, we dissect the findings of this study and explore the implications for individuals, healthcare professionals, and policymakers. 

Understanding the Study: 

The study analyzed data spanning from 2016 to 2020 from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS), encompassing respondents from 27 states and 2 territories. The BRFSS is a national cross-sectional survey conducted annually by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to collect data on various health-related behaviors, chronic conditions, and access to healthcare among U.S. adults. It serves as a vital tool for understanding population health trends and informing public health interventions. By meticulously examining the relationship between cannabis use and cardiovascular outcomes, the research sought to discern patterns among the general population, never-tobacco smokers, and younger individuals at risk of premature cardiovascular disease. 

Key Findings: 

The study unearthed several noteworthy findings: 

  1. Prevalence of Cannabis Use: The prevalence of cannabis use, both daily and nondaily, was on the rise, reflecting a broader cultural shift towards acceptance and normalization.
  2. Association with Cardiovascular Outcomes: Daily cannabis use exhibited a significant association with adverse cardiovascular outcomes, including myocardial infarction (MI), stroke, and a composite measure of coronary heart disease (CHD), MI, and stroke. This association persisted even after controlling for tobacco use and other confounding factors.
  3. Dose-Response Relationship: Notably, the study revealed a dose-response relationship, wherein higher frequency of cannabis use correlated with elevated risks of cardiovascular events, underlining the potential cumulative impact of cannabis consumption on heart health.
  4. Independent Effect: Intriguingly, cannabis use demonstrated an independent effect on cardiovascular outcomes, distinct from the influence of tobacco smoking, challenging previous assumptions regarding their interplay.

Implications and Limitations: 

The study’s findings carry significant implications for healthcare providers, policymakers, and the general populace: 

  1. Healthcare Awareness: Healthcare professionals need to be vigilant about the potential cardiovascular risks associated with cannabis use, especially among patients with existing cardiovascular risk factors.
  2. Public Education: Public awareness campaigns should highlight the nuanced relationship between cannabis use and cardiovascular health, dispelling misconceptions and fostering informed decision-making.
  3. Policy Considerations: Policymakers must integrate evidence-based insights into cannabis regulation and public health initiatives, ensuring that regulatory frameworks prioritize public safety and well-being.

Despite its rigorous methodology, the study has inherent limitations, including its cross-sectional design and reliance on self-reported data. Prospective cohort studies are warranted to validate these findings and elucidate the long-term implications of cannabis use on cardiovascular health comprehensively.   


As cannabis use continues to proliferate, understanding its ramifications on cardiovascular health is imperative. The study’s findings underscore the need for heightened awareness, proactive intervention, and evidence-based policymaking to mitigate potential risks and safeguard public health. By fostering a nuanced dialogue and prioritizing scientific inquiry, we can navigate the complex terrain of cannabis use and cardiovascular health, paving the way for a healthier future.  

“Association of Cannabis Use With Cardiovascular Outcomes Among US Adults.” (A. M. Jeffers, et al., J Am Heart Assoc, 2024)