The Psychology of Negative Thinking and the Surprising Link between Marijuana Use and Cardiovascular Disease

Esteban Tala

Esteban Tala

Apr 26, 20244 min read

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The Psychology of Negative Thinking and the Surprising Link between Marijuana Use and Cardiovascular Disease

Introduction:

Negative thinking can have a profound impact on our mental health, leading to low mood, poor self-esteem, and anxiety. Recognizing and managing negative thoughts is crucial for breaking the cycle of poor mental health. On the other hand, a recent study has found a surprising link between marijuana use and cardiovascular disease, suggesting that regular cannabis use may increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. In this article, we will explore the psychology behind negative thinking and how it can be managed, as well as delve into the findings of the study on the association between marijuana use and cardiovascular disease.

Recognizing and Managing Negative Thinking:

Negative thoughts often coexist with poor mental health and can worsen our mood and self-esteem. Automatic negative thoughts, such as catastrophizing and all-or-nothing thinking, can lead to a bias towards negativity and cloud our judgment. To break this cycle, it is important to recognize negative thoughts when they arise. By paying attention to our automatic thoughts and labeling them as subjective thoughts, we can create distance and detach from the critical inner voice that distorts these thoughts. This process is similar to meditation, where we observe the thoughts without actively engaging with them.

In addition to recognizing negative thoughts, keeping a thought diary can be beneficial. By journaling the date, time, triggering event, and resulting negative thought, we can gain insights into the relationship between external triggers and internal beliefs. This practice helps us understand the impact of negative thinking on our emotional well-being.

Furthermore, de-catastrophizing techniques can prevent a spiral of negative thinking. This involves challenging our worst-case scenarios and questioning the likelihood of them coming true. By reframing our thoughts and considering the most likely outcomes, we can reduce the impact of negative thinking on our mental health.

The Link between Marijuana Use and Cardiovascular Disease:

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association has found a concerning association between marijuana use and cardiovascular disease. The study revealed that people who used cannabis every day had higher odds of experiencing a heart attack or stroke compared to non-users. The risk increased with more frequent use, suggesting a dose-response relationship.

One complicating factor is the co-use of tobacco products among cannabis users. Tobacco use is known to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, but even without tobacco use, the higher odds of heart attack and stroke persisted for cannabis users. This suggests that cannabis use itself may be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

The researchers also took age into consideration, as heart disease typically develops over time. However, cannabis users tend to skew younger, which could potentially underestimate the long-term impact of cannabis use on cardiovascular health. Nevertheless, the study concluded that cannabis use may be a risk factor for premature cardiovascular disease.

The Potential Mechanisms:

While the exact mechanisms linking cannabis use to cardiovascular disease are not fully understood, there are plausible explanations. Smoking cannabis, which is the most common method of consumption among users, may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease similar to tobacco cigarettes. Inhaling particulate matter into the lungs can have detrimental effects on the cardiovascular system. It is unclear if edible cannabis products would have the same association, as they do not involve inhalation.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Recognize and challenge negative thoughts: By labeling negative thoughts as subjective and detached observations, we can distance ourselves from their influence on our emotions.
  • 2. Keep a thought diary: Journaling thoughts, emotions, and triggering events can help us understand the relationship between external triggers and internal beliefs.
  • 3. Practice de-catastrophizing: Challenge worst-case scenarios and consider the likelihood of them coming true. Reframe negative thoughts to focus on more realistic outcomes.

Conclusion:

Managing negative thinking is essential for maintaining good mental health. Recognizing and challenging negative thoughts can help break the cycle of poor mental health and prevent cognitive distortions. Additionally, the recent study on the association between marijuana use and cardiovascular disease highlights the potential risks of regular cannabis use. Further research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms behind this link and to explore the impact of different modes of cannabis consumption.

Resource:

  1. "The psychology of negative thinking", https://nesslabs.com/negative-thinking?ref=refind (Glasp)
  2. "Study finds link between marijuana use and cardiovascular disease", https://arstechnica.com/science/2024/02/marijuana-use-linked-to-increased-risk-of-heart-attack-stroke-study-finds/ (Glasp)

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