Blood Pressure and Marijuana Use: Results from a Decade of NHANES Data

Am J Health Behav. 2019 Sep 1;43(5):887-897. doi: 10.5993/AJHB.43.5.2.


Objectives: After 14 years of no change, new blood pressure (BP) guidelines were released; yet, the impact of marijuana on BP remains unclear. Our objective was to examine the association between marijuana use and BP. Methods: We analyzed data for adults (N = 10,709; mean age 44.8 years; 50.3% men) who completed 2005-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. Marijuana use was defined as never (no lifetime use), past (lifetime, not in past 30 days), and current (≥ 1 in past 30 days). Frequency of use was categorized based past 30-day use. BP was categorized as elevated BP, Stage 1 hypertension (HTN-I), or Stage 2 hypertension (HTN-II) based on updated guidelines. Results: Current users had a higher prevalence of elevated BP (19.4%), HTN-I (22.7%), HTN-II (12.9%) than never users (16.1%, 21.4%, and 11.99%) respectively; p = .03). After covariate adjustment, heavy users had 1.80 higher odds of elevated BP than never users (95% CI: 1.13-2.88). There were no statistically significant differences in BP in any other marijuana use category. Conclusions: Driven by heavy use, current users had a higher prevalence of elevated BP than never users. Patients at risk for abnormal BP should use caution when engaging in heavy marijuana use.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / chemically induced
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Marijuana Use / adverse effects*
  • Marijuana Use / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Prevalence
  • United States / epidemiology