Neurology Central

Ischemic stroke in marijuana users is more often caused by stenosis

Researchers from The University Hospital of Strasbourg (France) have identified that strokes in young people who utilize marijuana are more likely to be caused by stenosis than strokes in non-users. The results of the study were published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Previous studies have found a link between marijuana use and stroke, but the new study is the first to analyze the differences in stroke in users compared to non-users.

The researchers included patients below the age of 45, admitted with ischemic stroke between 2005 and 2014. In total 334 patients were included in the study, 58 of whom were marijuana users.

The research concluded that in marijuana users ischemic stroke was more likely to result from intracranial arterial stenosis, a narrowing of the arteries inside the skull caused by a buildup of plaque. Intracranial arterial stenosis was identified in 45% of the marijuana users, whereas in non-users only 14% had the condition.

On average marijuana users in the study were also younger, more likely to be male, more likely to smoke tobacco and have additional lifestyle risk factors compared to non-users.

Cardioembolism was the most common cause of ischemic stroke in non-marijuana users in the study. The researchers found 14% of strokes in marijuana users compared to 29% of strokes in non-users were caused by cardioembolism.

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

Source: American College of Cardiology press release