As more states legalize marijuana for various purposes, an increasing number of patients are asking their doctors whether marijuana smoking can cause varicose veins. Here’s a look at how marijuana is different from tobacco, but smoking it can still have a negative impact on the legs’ veins.
Know the Difference Between Marijuana and Tobacco
Marijuana (also “weed”) is substantially different from tobacco, and the two substances have different effects on the body.
Tobacco is most smoked in cigarettes that have a litany of harmful chemicals in them, in addition to the tobacco itself. Even when rolled or put in a pipe, though tobacco on its own can cause lung damage, cancer, cardiovascular damage, and sex-drive or pregnancy issues.
Although weed that’s bought on the streets might have harmful impurities in it, marijuana that’s purchased at a licensed facility should be only the cannabis plant. This helps ensure that there aren’t additional harmful chemicals entering the body, but simply smoking the cannabis plant can lead to health issues.
That Doesn’t Mean Marijuana is Better
People who regularly smoke marijuana may suffer from multiple ailments as a result of the habit. The lung damage that’s caused by inhaling smoke can lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic bronchitis, emphysema and other breathing problems. It may also cause cancer, and it likewise causes cardiovascular issues.
How Smoking Affects Your Venous System
The cardiovascular problems smoking marijuana causes can lead to varicose veins. The act of smoking damages the veins, making them more rigid and decreasing blood flow through the cardiovascular system. This can result in peripheral vascular disease (PVD), where insufficient blood goes to the arms and legs. It can also cause or exacerbate varicose veins.
The link between varicose veins stems from the damage that smoking causes to veins and the resulting decreased blood flow. This allows blood to pool in the legs’ veins, making the veins bulge and twist under the added strain.
Formal studies on marijuana’s effects are limited because the substance is just recently being legalized in the U.S. Thus far, however, one preliminary finding showed a 33 percent of men who smoked marijuana developed varicose veins.
This is only an initial finding and not yet confirmed even by the study that issued this preliminary statistic, but the correlation will likely hold true for both men and women. At this point, it’s unclear how much marijuana use is necessary to cause varicose veins.
Seek Vein Treatment at Vein & Vascular
If you’ve developed varicose veins as a result of regular marijuana smoking, find treatment at our practice. Schedule a consult, and meet our vein physicians in Vineland, Voorhees, Sewell and Lumberton, New Jersey. Our physicians will be happy to meet with you and discuss what treatment might be appropriate for your varicose veins. As specialists in the field, they’ll know the best way to alleviate the condition.