Does Pot Smoking Ruin Your Heart?

iStock/Thinkstock(TOULOUSE, France) -- Possible new health dangers associated with marijuana smoking have come to light following a small French study that reveals young and middle-aged users may be putting themselves at increased risk for heart and artery disease.

Researchers at University Hospital of Toulouse reviewed close to two thousand patients with health problems who abused marijuana over a five-year span and found 35 adults whose average age was 34 with cardiovascular complications.

Among them, 20 people had heart attacks, nine of which were fatal. There were also 10 instances of disease of the arteries in limbs, which were linked to brain arteries.

During the time the individuals smoked pot, according to the researchers, cases of heart disease rose three times over five years, adding that about half of the smokers had already been diagnosed with high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

Lead study author Emilie Jouanjus says that further research is warranted, given the loosening of restrictions against marijuana use in some countries, including the U.S.

Advocates for the legalization of pot contend the study showed no cause-and-effect relationship nor did it compare marijuana users to those who don't use the drug, essentially making the findings meaningless.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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