SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Secondhand marijuana smoke may be just as bad for your heart as breathing tobacco smoke, according to preliminary research from the University of California San Francisco.

The study, by UCSF professor Matt Springer, was presented Sunday at the American Heart Association annual scientific sessions in Chicago.

Two highlights of the study were:

  • Secondhand marijuana smoke may have similar cardiovascular effects as tobacco smoke.
  • Lab rats exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke had a 70 percent drop in blood vessel function.

Researchers tested smoke from marijuana with- and without tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the compound that gives pot users their high — but blood vessel function was impaired in both cases.

Reduced blood vessel function may raise the chances of developing atherosclerosis — a process which causes plaque to build up in arteries, narrowing them and further restricting blood flow.

According to a U.S. Surgeon General’s 2014 report, secondhand tobacco smoke causes about 34,000 premature deaths from heart disease each year among U.S. nonsmokers.

SOURCE: UCSF: Secondhand marijuana smoke may damage blood vessels as much as tobacco smoke

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