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Journal of the American College of Cardiology

Clinical Articles, News & Views

Ischaemic stroke in marijuana users

Strokes in young adults who use marijuana are more likely to be caused by intracranial arterial stenosis than strokes in non-users, according to a study published recently in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.1

Researchers from the University Hospital of Strasbourg in Strasbourg, France, looked at all patients under age 45 admitted with ischaemic stroke from 2005 to 2014, creating a study cohort of 334 patients, including 58 who were marijuana users.

Intracranial arterial stenosis was found in 45% of the marijuana users in the study compared to 14% of the non-users. Marijuana users in the study were younger, more likely to be male, more likely to smoke tobacco, and more likely to have other lifestyle risk factors than non-users in the study.

Cardio-embolism was the most common cause of ischaemic stroke in non-marijuana users in the study. Investigators found 29% of strokes in non-users were caused by cardio-embolism compared to only 14% in the marijuana users.

“Fighting stroke must remain a priority, including in young adults,” said the authors. “The first step may be to inform the public regarding the potential occurrence of stroke associated with cannabis and other lifestyle risk factors.”

JACC Editor in Chief Dr Valentin Fuster (Mount Sinai Medical Hospital, New York, USA) said: “The effects of cannabis have been considered benign for a long time; however, evidence continues to build about the relationship of its use with stroke”.


1. Wolff V, Zinchenko I, Quenardelle V, Rouyer O, Geny B. Characteristics and prognosis of ischemic stroke in young cannabis users compared with non-cannabis users. J Am Coll Cardiol 2015;66:2052.

Published on: October 30, 2015

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