Burton J. Tabaac, MD
Dutta T, Ryan KA, Thompson O, Lopez H, Fecteau N, Sparks MJ, Chaturvedi S, Cronin C, Mehndiratta P, Nunez Gonzalez JR, et al. Marijuana Use and the Risk of Early Ischemic Stroke: The Stroke Prevention in Young Adults Study. Stroke. 2021.
As stroke is becoming a more prevalent etiology of death for young adults 25 to 45 years old, there is naturally a growing interest focused on modifiable risk factors for stroke prevention. The focus of this publication is aimed at drug use, namely marijuana, and if it plays a role as a causative or contributing factor to ischemic stroke. There is well documentation in the literature to support tobacco smoking and cocaine use as risk factors for stroke, yet a causal relationship for marijuana remains less clear. This article grows even more prescient given the rapidly growing rise of marijuana use in the United States, especially amongst 18- to 25-year-olds.1
To date, there exist few epidemiological studies to evaluate the association between marijuana use and acute ischemic stroke, with some reports suggesting conflicting findings indicating no association with stroke risk; the potential for a dose response effect has been postulated. As more states and local governments pursue the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana, further clarification to delineate the potential risk of stroke becomes ever more paramount to public health interest. The authors of this paper investigated a large population-based case control study of ischemic stroke in young adults to assess whether self-reported marijuana use was associated with early-onset ischemic stroke, and evaluated for a dose-response temporal relationship.