Systematic Review of the Association Between Marijuana Use and Stroke Risk

Jonathan S Huang, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Marijuana is the most widely used recreational drug in the world. Given the widespread use of marijuana, it is important to study the potential long-term health effects of its use. One important health effect to consider is risk of stroke. Although other substances, most notably tobacco, have been associated with increased stroke risk, it is unclear whether or not using marijuana affects the risk of stroke. This study aimed to determine what is known about the relationship, if any, between marijuana use and stroke risk by conducting a systematic review. This study focused on cohort, case-control, and cross-sectional studies published between 1987 and 2017 on the association between marijuana use and stroke. Information for each study was extracted and presented in an evidence table, and study quality was assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa scale (for cohort and case-control studies) or modified Newcastle-Ottawa scale (for cross-sectional studies). Out of 134 publications found in the database search, 8 studies met the criteria and were included. 5 were cross-sectional, 2 were cohort, and 1 was case-control. All studies adjusted for potential confounders (such as demographic variables, medical risk factors for stroke, and use of other substances) in their study design and/or analysis. Out of the 8 studies, 5 found a statistically significant positive association between marijuana use and a stroke outcome, while 3 found no association. Some of the studies also examined possible differences between ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke, as well as any possible dose-response relationship between marijuana use and stroke risk, but results were mixed. Overall, there currently does not appear to be a consensus in the literature as to whether or not there is an association between marijuana use and risk of stroke. Further studies are needed to clarify if an association exists and to inform the public's health.

Subject Area

Public health

Recommended Citation

Huang, Jonathan S, "Systematic Review of the Association Between Marijuana Use and Stroke Risk" (2017). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI10680837.