LOS ANGELES -
A new study on marijuana is raising health concerns just as more states are legalizing the drug.
Young and middle aged adults who use marijuana could be putting themselves at risk for heart-related complications, even death. That's according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
French researchers looked at about 2,000 health complications involving marijuana. Thirty-five were cardiovascular-related including 20 heart attacks and nine deaths.
"We used to think marijuana was a very safe drug, but as more and more marijuana is being used there have been more identifiable cases of cardiovascular complications. It can increase heart rate and this can increase the demand for oxygen by the heart," said Dr. Robert Kloner, a cardiologist. Dr. Kloner believes the number of cardiovascular complications from marijuana is even higher. "There's probably an underreporting that's occurring, so not everyone that has a cardiac event that uses marijuana is going to report that," said Dr. Kloner. Dave Weaver, 26, smokes marijuana regularly and says the new findings won't keep him from lighting up. "It's like drinking a beer at the end of the day, just helps you calm down, relax and take the stress off," said Weaver. As more states legalize marijuana for recreational and medical use, some experts are calling for a national system to track health complications related to marijuana. Colorado and Washington are the only states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Medical marijuana is legal in Vermont, New Hampshire and 19 other states plus the District of Columbia.