Send to

Choose Destination
Int J Drug Policy. 2018 Mar;53:1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2017.11.022. Epub 2017 Dec 8.

Examining the relationship between medical cannabis laws and cardiovascular deaths in the US.

Author information

Department of Economics, Finance and Global Business, William Paterson University, United States.
Department of Economics, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, United States. Electronic address:



Several countries and many U.S. states have allowed, for cannabis to be used as therapy to treat chronic conditions or pain., This has increased the use of cannabis, particularly among older people.Because cannabis has been linked to adverse cardiac events in the medical literature, there may be unintended consequences on increased use among older people.


We analyze cardiac-related mortality data from the U.S. National Vital Statistics System for 1990-2014. We use difference-in-difference fixed-effects models to assess whether there are increased rates of cardiac-related mortality following passage of medical cannabis programs. We also analyze whether states with more liberal rules on dispensing cannabis show higher mortality rates.


For men, there is a statistically significant 2.3% increase in the rate of cardiac death following passage. For women, there is a 1.3% increase that is also statistically significant. he effects increase or both men and women with age. The effects are also stronger in states with more a lax approach to cannabis dispensing.


Policymakers should be aware of a potential unintended consequence of allowing broader use of cannabis, specifically for those more at risk of cardiovascular events.


Cannabis; Cardiovascular disease; Medical marijuana

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center