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Smoking Pot May Raise Stroke Risk in Young Adults
Date:2/6/2013

s had been tested for other reasons and were about to be discarded.

"As a consequence, the controls were anonymous -- we only could know age, sex and ethnicity," Barber explained.

The results after the drug screens: Twenty-five (more than 15 percent) of the stroke patients had positive cannabis screens and were also more likely to be male (84 percent) and tobacco smokers (88 percent). Of the control urine samples, thirteen (8 percent) were positive for marijuana.

"There was a doubling for the risk of stroke," Barber said.

Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Two experts said the study is worthwhile, but doesn't lead to any concrete conclusions.

"It's not a strong study, not one you can hang your hat on, but it's better than others we've got," said Dr. Daniel Labovitz, director of the Stern Stroke Center at Montefiore Medical Center, in New York City.

"Even though it's tiny -- they did this assessment on a relatively small number of patients -- it's still possible to at least start talking about the topic. I don't think you can draw any hard conclusions," Labovitz said. "What we know from prior work is that some studies have shown an association with stroke. The finding of this article is not really news. It's another brick in the wall. It lends credence to the concept that smoking marijuana is a stroke risk."

Labovitz, as well as author Barber, also noted that the study didn't tease out the details of tobacco use -- how long and how much the young stroke patients had been smoking and how big a role that might have played in stroke risk.

Dr. Carl Lavie, a professor of medicine and medical director of cardiac rehabilitation and prevention at John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute in New Orleans, had similar concerns about the small study size.

"Obviously, this is a very small study and is
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