Cannabis consumers might just be less likely to die following a heart-attack.
That's what a group of researchers from the University of Colorado found after analyzing the hospital records of 1,273,897 patients who suffered from heart-related emergencies, or Acute Myocardial Infarctions (AMI), between 1994 and 2013. Of those, 3,854 were cannabis consumers.
The researchers had originally hypothesized that cannabis consumers would suffer more negative effects after being admitted to hospital with AMI than non-consumers, but that wasn't the case. Cannabis consumers were actually at a decreased risk of going into shock, less likely to need certain artery surgeries and even less prone to die as a result of their heart condition.
"Perhaps the most striking finding of our study is that marijuana use prior to AMI was associated with decreased in-hospital mortality post AMI," the study authors wrote.
The researchers said they can't say for certain why cannabis consumers seem to fare better post-AMI, though they did give a couple of possible explanations.
One was that "marijuana use may have provided a cardioprotective effect to users." They pointed to studies that suggest cannabis may increase blood flow, helping reduce the risk of stroke.
However, another possible reason why cannabis consumers have higher AMI survival rates is a little less positive. Cannabis consumption may simply increase the risk of less dangerous heart-attacks. This suggestion comes from the fact that cannabis consuming AMI patients tended to be ten years younger on average than their non-consuming counterparts.
"Lastly, marijuana use may be associated with an increased incidence of smaller, non-fatal AMIs (in a younger population that may not have otherwise experienced a cardiac event)," noted researchers.
Despite that possibility, the research team accentuated the positive conclusions of the study by saying, "we would strongly suggest that marijuana use is associated with a significant decrease in in-hospital mortality."