Cannabis use and blood pressure levels: United States National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2005-2012

J Hypertens. 2016 Aug;34(8):1507-12. doi: 10.1097/HJH.0000000000000990.


Objective: Preclinical studies have reported acute cardiovascular effects of cannabis, including a dose-dependent increase in blood pressure (BP), whereas orthostatic hypotension may follow as a result of decreased vascular resistance. In case reports, evidence links cannabis with acute cardiovascular events in young and middle-aged adults. Here, we offer epidemiologic estimates on cannabis use and BP levels association from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys 2005-2012 (n = 12 426).

Methods: Computer-assisted self-interviews assessed cannabis use. BP was determined by an average of up to four measurements taken during a single examination. Regression modeling was used to examine cannabis use and BP association.

Results: Recently active cannabis use was associated with increase in SBP (β = 1.6; 95% confidence interval: 0.6, 2.7) in the age-sex-adjusted model. Additional covariate adjustment did not affect the positive association. No association between cannabis use and DBP was detected.

Conclusion: A modest association between recent cannabis use and SBP was detected among a relatively large nationally representative sample of US adults. With the legalization of cannabis, there is a need for preclinical, clinical and prospective population-based research on the cardiovascular effects of cannabis use.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure Determination
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marijuana Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Marijuana Smoking / physiopathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Prospective Studies
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Systole
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult