7 Life Questions to Ask Yourself Today

In today’s modern world, many of us stick to the high tempo and miss many important for self-development things. But sometimes we thirst for the moment to stop and ask yourself several life questions. I’m sure there are certain questions which can help you improve yourself and know yourself better. When reflecting on your position, behavior and deeds, you can reach a new level of human development scale. Take a look at these questions and maybe they will change your life for the better.

1. What do you want to change in this world?
Almost everyone is able to change the world. Even small deeds and actions can contribute to making changes in this world. The main point is to have a frank desire. Nowadays we are free to change the world by volunteering or donating. Plus, you can create a music that’s proved to change people and their inner opinions. The best idea to change the world for the better is to start from yourself and your own world view. When we think of changing the world, it indicates that we’ve become stronger and more intelligent.

2. What are your life values?
Our values are the core element of the life. People who have no values are doomed to run around and chase unnecessary things. Families and life experiences endowed us with appropriate values and we have to find time to write them down and realize what is the most important for you. You have to set priorities whether to spend more time with family and friends or make a successful career. If your heart needs love, then try to become a good wife or a girlfriend to your man.

3. What do you like to do?
This question is really important because often we choose jobs that we don’t enjoy doing. We are often pressed by parents, colleagues and bosses to make a decision we don’t support. Even if you have a well-paid job, don’t be afraid to quit it. Do what you really love and you will feel much happier.

4. How do you imagine your life 5 years from now?
Find time and imagine your life 5 years from now. It can be easier to create a scheme including goals and mini-goals as a constituent part of your plan. If you want to reach them faster, then pay attention to concrete things and try not to build castles in the sky. Don’t be a lazybones and start accomplishing the list of goals and dreams you want to come true. If you follow this chain of actions, you will definitely succeed.

5. Is there a balance between want and should?
There are many important things we all should do in life, such as finishing the college degree, making money and starting a family. It often happens that our wants do not coincide with our shoulds and we end up feeling miserable. But it’s easy to turn your want into should. Your wants should come true and become an indispensable part of your everyday life. Try to draw the line between things you want and what you should do. You will certainly succeed and keep a healthy life balance.

6. What are your biggest fears?
Modern world often awards us with big or small fears. The key weapon to fight fears is to accept and face them. The most challenging thing is to win yourself. Nowadays it is normal to have fears and it doesn’t mean you are weak. Just be yourself and find a way to cope with your fears.

7. What if I die right now?
Don’t waste your energy and nerves mulling over small troubles and problems. If you were dying right now, what would be the most important to you? Your family and friends, or career and money? Stop worrying about money and other less important things, because life is too short. You may ask yourself if it’s a big problem that you’ve missed a bus or you’re late for work today.

I like asking life questions that always make me think and reflect. When you are having a cup of tea, try to ask yourself profound questions. This will help you to live a happier life. Do you find asking these questions necessary?

4 Moscow Mule Recipes to Die for

Gone are the days when the Moscow Mule was a silly vodka drink. Lately, I’ve received a few emails asking for ways to make the ordinary Moscow Mule a bit different. Since I’m not a big fan of alcoholic drinks, I asked my friend to help me test some popular Moscow Mule recipes. We spent two hours experimenting with the drinks and chose the following recipes. But let’s start with the Classic Moscow Mule recipe.

Moscow Mule Recipes to Die for
1. Classic Moscow Mule
The classic recipe is simple. All it takes is 2-3 minutes and some mixing of 3 ingredients. No boiling, muddling, or shaking.


2 ounces vodka
lime juice
ginger beer
mint sprig
ice cubes, optional

When it comes to the classic Moscow Mule, all you have to do is to combine vodka, fresh juice of half a lime in a copper mug with ice, and slowly pour the ginger beer on top. Garnish with a mint sprig. You can skip the ice during the winter season to create a warming drink.

2. Orange Moscow Mule
I found a few different Orange Moscow Mule recipes, so it was difficult to figure out the best one without trying. Luckily, I have a friend who’s keen about alcoholic drinks (he’s not habitual drunkard; he’s a barman.) He suggested this recipe:


2 ounces vodka
2 ounces orange juice, fresh squeezed
juice of half a lime
½ cup ginger beer
ice cubes, optional

If you use the ice, fill the mug with the ice cubes first. Combine vodka, orange juice, lime juice and ginger beer, stirring gently. Pour it over the ice. Garnish with orange slice and mint sprig. Or, skip the ice and you’ll get a holiday beverage for your Christmas party.

3. Apple Cider Moscow Mule
If you don’t like oranges, apple cider is a great swap. It’s best to use homemade apple cider in the recipe, but a store-bought one isn’t the worst option too. The drink reminds me of the holiday season.


2 ounces apple cider
2 ounces vodka
1/2 cup ginger beer
1 teaspoon lime juice
ice cubes, optional

Add apple cider, vodka, and lime juice to your Moscow Mule mug. Top off with ginger beer and sprinkle cinnamon over it. Garnish with a cinnamon stick or an apple slice. Enjoy!

4. Cranberry Moscow Mule
Cranberry is a fabulous addition to the classic Moscow Mule. This is the perfect holiday cocktail that will astonish every Moscow Mule lover and save you time on Christmas Eve. It takes about 3 minutes to make.


1 1/2 oz vodka
1/2 oz unsweetened cranberry juice
2 oz ginger beer
mint sprig
lime wedge
sugared or fresh cranberries
ice cubes, optional

Combine the juice and vodka. Pour over the ice cubes (if you use them) and top with ginger beer. Garnish with a mint sprig, lime wedge and sugared or fresh cranberries. You can also sprinkle cinnamon to boost the holiday spirit.

See, you don’t need any exotic ingredients and a lot of time to make the cocktail that many of you love. Continue experimenting and you will have more than 4 Moscow Mule recipes. If you don’t have vodka, you can use rum or bourbon. Also, you don’t necessarily have to buy the copper mugs. You can serve the drink in a tall glass or just anything you have at home. No one cares about the glass or mug when the cocktail is incredibly delicious. Are you a Moscow Mule junkie?


Battling Environmental Depression:

Learning How to Die in the Anthropocene

Many of my university students confess to feeling emotionally overwhelmed, pessimistic, even depressed, when the raw “facts of life” are revealed during our studies of the global environment. But they’re adults, so I don’t sugarcoat the condition of the natural world and future prospects for conserving the biological diversity of life on Earth. The future is grim.

We live in imaginary Pollyanna Land in the United States, much like the rest of the so-called developed world. We’re the biggest, the best, the brightest, the strongest, the most noble. We’re a shining city on a hill, a beacon of justice and morality, righting wrongs, fighting evil everywhere, and guiding the world to the promised land of unlimited growth, wealth, and opportunity.

When it comes to the natural environment and the natural world, we expect to have our cake and eat it too. We want cell phones, wall-size televisions, McMansions big enough to fit our egos, multiple cars and SUVs in the driveway, cheap gas, and discount shopping malls on every corner. Tasty food should be delivered within seconds of a drive-through order and packages dropped off by a flying drone delivery service.

We want to burn unlimited amounts of energy without consequence and vent or store wastes for millennia without accident. We expect technology to save the day and avert global environmental disaster at the last minute, just before we permanently flip the climate switch triggering the global blast furnace.

All we need is some Einstein-like scientist, or perhaps a college drop-out or bored teenager, to create the next multi-billion dollar industry and miracle technology to save the world – all the energy we want without all the carbon dioxide calories. And along the way, endangered species surely will be rescued from the brink of extinction and once again thrive.

But then, why worry anyway? Species go extinct. Mother Nature takes care of herself. Global warming is a scientific hoax and the world is just changing naturally. Nothing we can do about it. Tax cuts, deregulation, and free market capitalism will solve all problems. Relax. Sit back. Go shopping. Have a beer. All will be well in the rapturous end.

By the way, I also have a rather large bridge I’d like to sell you…..

Seeking Wisdom, Finding Courage

Sorry to bust your bubble, but you’re an adult now. You need to know the real facts of life and I won’t apologize for trying to teach them to you when I get the chance. So stop the tears and quivering lip routine. Buck up little buttercup. Like it or not, you’re about to find yourself in the middle of a big fight.

Lean in, lean back, or run and hide. Your call. I’m not going to tell you what to think or what to do with your life. That’s not my job. It’s yours. But what I can do as we share our studies and thoughts about life on Earth is to expose you to wisdom and philosophy that may help prepare you for the difficult future ahead.

“The Facts of Life” about the condition of the natural world and the looming fate of the diverse and wonderous life it supports are not always pleasant to consider. Much life on Earth is in the process of dying. Given the difficult and painful subjects we cover, you might think I would just back off and give you some light-hearted, feel-good material when you conclude your advanced studies in conservation science. But you see, I actually hope you don’t conclude your studies. Ever.

Sure, I could entertain you with pictures of cute and cuddly-looking panda bears, polar bear cubs, and other wildlife. And maybe I could find enough inspirational material to buoy your spirits and make you feel good about the future world. After all, we do have some successes. We do have reason for hope in some areas. We are making some progress.

But overall, would I be doing you any favors if I glossed over the real facts of life on Earth? I don’t think so. And so, much like a drill sargeant, I’ve decided to do the mental equivalent of giving you a punch in the gut. I want to find out what kind of person you are. I want to know what’s deep down inside you. Is there fire in your belly and courage in your heart? Does wisdom grow in your eyes? More than anything, I want to know if we can count on you in the difficult fight ahead. Life depends on it.

Boy Bait To Banana Bread: 8 To-Die-For Breakfast Cakes

Cake for breakfast? Yes, please! From blueberry coffee cake (aka boy bait) to marbled chocolate banana bread, these recipes will motivate you to jump out of bed and start your day.

1. Blueberry Coffee Cake (aka Boy Bait)

The recipe for this old-fashioned blueberry coffee cake traces back to a 1954 Pillsbury Recipe & Baking Contest. Its creator, 15-year-old Renny Powell, called her tender, easy-to-make cake “Boy Bait” for its habit forming effect on young men. (She won 2nd place in the junior division.) My version is updated with lemon zest to complement the flavor of the blueberries and a crunchy cinnamon streusel topping. GET THE RECIPE

2. Peach Cake with Pecan Streusel

Heavy on the crunchy streusel topping and spiced with fragrant cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom, this peach coffee cake is a natural for breakfast, but it’s also wonderful topped with vanilla ice cream after dinner. GET THE RECIPE

3. Marbled Chocolate Banana Bread

Tender and sweet-scented with a gorgeous ribbon of melted chocolate running through it, this banana bread is the perfect way to start the day. Plus, it’s fun to make: you spoon the banana and chocolate batters into a loaf pan alternately, then artistically swirl the two together with a knife. GET THE RECIPE

4. Honey & Spice Cake

This gem of a cake comes from Marcy Goldman’s much-loved cookbook, A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking. It’s tender with tremendous depth of flavor — there’s coffee, orange juice and booze in it! — and the taste of honey shines through. GET THE RECIPE

5. Harvest Grape and Olive Oil Cake

Studded with juicy red grapes with hints of vanilla and citrus, this is a simple and lovely Italian-style cake — perfect for breakfast, brunch or tea. It’s called a “harvest cake” because it’s traditionally made during the grape harvest season to use up the small grapes not going for pressing. GET THE RECIPE

6. Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

Rich and tender from the addition of sour cream, and jam-packed with chocolate chips, this is the kind of old-fashioned, homey cake that appeals to just about everyone — and it’s super-simple to make. GET THE RECIPE

7. Chai Spiced Banana Bread

Chai is the actual word for tea in many countries but when we say chai in the States, we’re usually referring to Masala chai, which is a smooth and calming beverage made of black tea, milk and fragrant Indian spices. Its flavor goes beautifully with bananas, so this quick bread is infused with warm spices like cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and allspice.GET THE RECIPE

8. Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake

If there were ever a cake for lemon lovers, this is it. Lemon zest and lemon juice are added to the batter, which lightly perfume the cake. Then, while the cake is still warm from the oven, it’s doused with a lemon syrup to further enhance the lemon flavor. Finally, the cake is drizzled with a tart lemon glaze, which adds a pop of intense lemon flavor in every bite.

5 Unique Buddhist Temples To Visit Before You Die

As a major world religion, Buddhism is one of the most influential belief systems in the world. Founded over 2,500 years ago, Buddhism teaches of a way to end suffering and has spread to every corner of the globe since its founding. But Buddhism’s influence stretches far beyond the impact it has had on the beliefs of millions of people throughout history, it has also played a major role in inspiring some of the most remarkable landmarks the world has ever seen. Despite the same inspiration, Buddhist temples have been built in a variety of shapes and sizes with many unique styles of design. Here’s a list of five unique Buddhist temples you simply must visit before you die.

The Mahabodhi Temple, Bodh Gaya, India

The Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya, India is the most historic Buddhist temple on this list. The name literally means ‘the Great Enlightenment Temple’. The Mahabodhi Temple is located where the historic Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment and features a Bodhi tree that is a direct descendant of the Buddha’s enlightenment tree. The holy site features a stone brick central tower standing at about 180 feet high, as well as four smaller ones surrounding it. The temple is studded with several small stupas and Buddha statues outside the main tower and possesses walls with depictions of the Buddha’s life. The temple is believed to have been built by Buddhist Emperor Ashoka the Great about 200 years following the Buddha’s enlightenment. The Mahabodhi temple was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2002.

The Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, Myanmar

The Shwedagon Pagoda (or Golden Pagoda) in Yangon, Myanmar is probably one of the most dazzling Buddhist temples in the world. The shining gold plated Pagoda towers at about 100 meters high and is encrusted with thousands of diamonds, rubies and other precious gems. The Shwedagon Pagoda holds what is believed to be relics of the Buddha himself and the main tower is topped off with an impressive 76-carat diamond. The origin story of this ancient Theravada temple was lost in time, however historians generally agree it was built sometime between the 6th and 10th century. At night, the bright golden temple is clearly visible even miles away.

Fo Guang Shan, Dashu District, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

The Fo Guang Shan temple in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan takes a step back from the classic ancient temples on this list and offers an experience into Buddhism in the modern world. The over 300-acre temple in Kaohsiung City is the headquarters of the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order founded in 1967. The order follows Humanistic Buddhism and is famous for its embrace of modern teaching methods. The popular Mahayana temple is designed with a traditional East Asian design and features magnificent shrines, grandiose buildings, and offers numerous activities within its large temple complex. The temple is also home to the Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum, one of the most impressive contemporary Buddhist museums in the world. The museum features comprehensive Buddhist exhibitions, regular festivals and events, and even holds tooth relics from the historic Buddha.

Wat Phra Dhammakaya, Pathum Thani, Thailand

Wat Phra Dhammakaya in Pathum Thani, Thailand is another large Buddhist temple that gives a peek into modern Buddhism in today’s world. Also known for its modern teaching methods, this Theravada temple is famous for its enormous size and modern style of design. Founded in 1970, the temple follows a very simple, minimalistic design and blends traditional Thai temple architecture with a crisp contemporary one. Wat Phra Dhammakaya has numerous places of interest, including a sleek modern stupa with 1 million Buddha statues, several impressive memorials, and a grand meditation hall that can accommodate hundreds of thousands of people. At approximately 1000 acres, the temple is about twice the size of the country of Monaco. But don’t let that intimidate you, the temple is complete with a well-maintained road system and gives guests ample access to transportation to visit the various sights.

Borobudur, Magelang, Indonesia

Returning to the classic temples of ancient times, Borobudur, located in Magelang on the Indonesian island of Java, is the most famous Buddhist temple on this list. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Mahayana temple is made up of several layers of platforms that takes visitors on a journey through Buddhist cosmology. The monument is divided into three levels symbolizing three realms, the Kamadhatu (sense realm), Ruphadatu (form realm), and Arupadhatu (formless realm) and is decorated with several stupas and relief panels throughout the temple depicting the Law of Karma and several Buddhist stories. Although it is unknown who built the monument, it is estimated to have been built out of over 2 million stone blocks some time around the 9th century. The famous monument is also considered a prime pilgrimage site, with Buddhists in Indonesia often visiting the ancient ruins en masse every year to celebrate Vesak Day.

Marijuana users three times more likely to die from high blood pressure

Marijuana use has just been associated with death from hypertension. Getty
Marijuana use may increase people’s risk of death from hypertension (high blood pressure), a new study has found. The findings confirm previous associations that suggested recreational marijuana use may have potentially debilitating cardiovascular effects.

Cardiovascular diseases constitute the leading cause of death worldwide, despite most of them being preventable. More than 17 million people died of these diseases in 2015 globally.

In recent years, studies have linked marijuana use to cardiovascular problems. As a growing number of countries move to decriminalise marijuana,understanding whether its use increases cardiovascular mortality is beginning to look like a public health priority.

“Steps are being taken towards legalisation and decriminalisation of marijuana in the US, and rates of recreational marijuana use may increase substantially as a result,” lead author Barbara Yankey, from Georgia State University said in a statement. “However, there is little research on the impact of marijuana use on cardiovascular and cerebrovascular mortality.”

The study now published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology looks at the marijuana consumption of US adults and whether there is a link between their use of the drug and cardiovascular mortality.

Looking for marijuana users

Obtaining data about people’s marijuana consumption is challenging, as there is no longitudinal data available on marijuana use. To get around this problem, the researchers designed a retrospective follow-up study of the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, in which participants aged 20 years and above had been asked if they had ever used marijuana. Those who answered “yes” were considered marijuana users by the researchers in this present study.

To get an approximation of how long the participants had been consuming marijuana, the scientists looked at the age people had when they first tried marijuana and subtracted this from their current age.

The team also looked at mortality data in 2011 from the National Centre for Health Statistics. Combining both datasets, the researchers estimated the associations of marijuana use, and duration of use, with death from hypertension, heart disease, and cerebrovascular disease. They controlled for other risk factors cigarette use and demographic variables such as sex, age, and ethnicity.

A total of 1,213 participants were considered for the analyses. 34% of them used neither marijuana nor cigarettes, 21% used only marijuana, 20% used marijuana and smoked cigarettes, 16% used marijuana and were past-smokers, 5% were past-smokers and 4% only smoked cigarettes. According to the scientists’ calculations, the average duration of marijuana use was 11.5 years.

The analyses of the data revealed that compared to non-users, marijuana users had a 3.42 times higher risk of death from hypertension and a 1.04 times greater risk for each year of use. There was however no association between marijuana use and death from heart disease or cerebrovascular disease.

There are obvious limitations to the study, especially the way marijuana use was calculated – it is not certain that participants used the drug continuously since they first tried it. Due to the way marijuana use was estimated, more than half of the participants were considered marijuana users, which seems unlikely.

This is nevertheless a first helpful step to assess the long-term health risks posed by marijuana. The question of what it does to the heart needs to be addressed as more and more people around the world use it.

“Given an increasing trend to decriminalise use of marijuana, it is important to understand the health risks of its use. This study attempted to work out the risk of various heart diseases from smoking marijuana, but its findings are far from definite. Since marijuana use is illegal in many jurisdictions, it is very hard to be certain about the health risks it poses, ” explained Tim Chico, a reader in cardiovascular medicine at the University of Sheffield, who was not involved with the study.

“However, although this paper has limitations there is enough evidence from other research to strongly suspect marijuana use increases the risk of some forms of heart disease, and it is certainly not harmless.”

HIV-positive adolescents are 6 to 12 times more likely to die than other teens

HIV adolsecent
Young HIV-infected patients are more at risk of serious health outcomes than the rest of the population.Caiaimage/Rafal Rodzoch

Teens infected with HIV often experience poorer health outcomes than younger children and adults living with the virus, a study has revealed. Those who contracted HIV around the time of their birth are at higher risk throughout their adolescence and young adulthood for serious health problems and death.

Although no cure still exists for people infected with HIV, antiretroviral therapy has changed the life of patients. It has been one of the most important advances in the fight against the virus.

The treatment, which consists of a combination of antiretroviral drugs, works by preventing HIV from multiplying, thus stopping the progression of the disease.

ART is credited with having dramatically reduced the number of AIDS-related deaths – it is believed that with prevention, ART has saved 7.8 million lives over the last 15 years.

Having ART means that patients are able to live longer.For the first time, a generation of people infected at birth is reaching adulthood. There are now 10,000 perinatally HIV-infected youth in the US, the majority of whom are over 18.

“One of the first reports of AIDS in children was in the early 1980s, by Dr. James Oleske of New Jersey Medical School at Rutgers, who is a co-author of our study. At that point, getting to the age of 4 was a victory, and living until the third decade of life was unimaginable”, lead author Anne Neilan pointed out.

The fact that infected children are able to do so now is a great victory, but is also means that there is little data about how these patients fare during adolescence and early adulthood and not much is known about the kind of health challenges they face.

The research now published in Jama Pediatrics, investigates this question, analysing data from two large, long-term US studies.

More at risks than other groups

The scientists combined data from the Pediatric HIV/AIDS Cohort Study (PHACS) and the International Maternal Pediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials (IMPAACT) Network, which allowed them to study the health of more than 1,400 perinatally HIV-infected children, adolescents and young adults ages 7 to 30 years, between 2007 and 2015.

Their analysis indicates that participants aged 13-30 were more likely to have higher levels of HIV in their blood and lower levels of the CD4 immune cells which are targeted by the virus than other groups of patients. They were more likely to suffer from AIDS-related illnesses and mortality among this group was 6 to 12 times that among the general US population.

“Despite being engaged in health care, the number of deaths among youth born with HIV in the US is 6 to 12 times higher than for youth without HIV of the same age, sex and race”, Neilan emphasises.

HIV virus
Around 34 million people live with HIV worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation. wiki commons

In young adults (18 to 30 years old), poor HIV control (with high levels of the virus) was identified in 35% of the cases. This is particularly worrying, because it means that these young people are more at risk of developing resistance against current medications.

According to the study, one of the main health problems linked with HIV and reported in youth is poor mental health – addressing this issue is a priority. Sexually transmitted infections were also more common than in the general population, suggesting that these young patients are likely to engage in risky sexual behaviours.

Neilan concluded: “We need to act to strengthen these services for youth, taking into account their developmentally specific needs. That might include youth-friendly services that consider the substantial stigma many of these patients face, novel approaches to antiretroviral therapy delivery, and improving support for youth transitioning from pediatric to adult health care providers.”

India hospital: 60 children die in Uttar Pradesh

At least 60 children have died at a public hospital in northern India, officials say, amid allegations that the oxygen supply was cut over unpaid bills.

Officials in Uttar Pradesh state admitted the supply had been disrupted but said this did not cause the deaths.

There was panic at the hospital with relatives trying to support staff using manual breathing bags, local media say.

Most victims were at the neonatal unit or being treated for encephalitis.

The deaths occurred over a five-day period from Monday at the Baba Raghav Das hospital in Gorakhpur district. Thirty of the deaths were recorded between Thursday and Friday alone, the hospital said.

District official Anil Kumar recognized there was a “payment issue” with the supplier, but said the deaths could have been caused by “natural” causes as many patients were admitted in a “serious” condition.

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The region is one the poorest in India and records hundreds of deaths of children due to diseases, including encephalitis, every year.

“We will be getting more liquid oxygen cylinders tonight or tomorrow, and have also cleared the dues of the supplier,” Mr Kumar said.

State Health Minister Sidharth Nath Singh also rejected that the children had died because of lack of oxygen, saying that the average daily death toll for the month of August at the hospital was between 19 and 22 in the last three years. It was not clear if this related only to cases among children.

“There was no shortage of oxygen in the hospital. For two hours, there was shortage of emergency cylinders, during which manual resuscitation procedure was carried out,” he said.

The uncle of an 11-year-old girl who died at the hospital told ABP news channel: “We didn’t know what was happening at the time. The staff just told us to keep pressing [the artificial bags] after every count untill three. We kept doing that for some time.”

In a statement, the hospital said “the pressure of the liquid oxygen supply became low” and that reserve cylinders were arranged, but did not specify whether that had resulted in any deaths and why so many children had died in just two days.

The case has sparked outrage in India, with some describing it as a massacre, the BBC’s Sanjoy Majumder in New Delhi reports.

Opposition leaders have been criticised for trying to politicize the issue for blaming Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, which rules the state.

State officials said an investigation has been launched, and Mr Modi’s office said on Twitter that he was constantly monitoring the situation.

Marijuana smokers three times more likely to die of hypertension: study

A new study suggests marijuana smokers on average smoke for 11.5 years.

People who smoke marijuana have a three times greater risk of dying from hypertension, or high blood pressure, than those who have never used the drug, scientists said on Wednesday.

The risk grows with every year of use, they said.

The findings, from a study of some 1,200 people, could have implications in the United States among other countries. Several states have legalized marijuana and others are moving toward it. It is decriminalized in a number of other countries.

READ MORE: N.B. doctors release education program on marijuana health risks

“Support for liberal marijuana use is partly due to claims that it is beneficial and possibly not harmful to health,” said Barbara Yankey, who co-led the research at the school of public health at Georgia State University in the United States.

“It is important to establish whether any health benefits outweigh the potential health, social and economic risks. If marijuana use is implicated in cardiovascular diseases and deaths, then it rests on the health community and policy makers to protect the public.”

Marijuana is also sometimes used for medicinal purposes, such as for glaucoma.

READ MORE: Medical cannabis patients urged not to self-medicate when recreational marijuana is legal

The study, published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, was a retrospective follow-up study of 1,213 people aged 20 or above who had been involved in a large and ongoing National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. In 2005–2006, they were asked if they had ever used marijuana.

For Yankey’s study, information on marijuana use was merged with mortality data in 2011 from the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, and adjusted for confounding factors such as tobacco smoking and variables including sex, age and ethnicity.

The average duration of use among users of marijuana, or cannabis, was 11.5 years.

WATCH: Health Canada decision relaxes some rules for medical marijuana users

The results showed marijuana users had a 3.42-times higher risk of death from hypertension than non-users, and a 1.04 greater risk for each year of use.

There was no link between marijuana use and dying from heart or cerebrovascular diseases such as strokes.

Yankey said were limitations in the way marijuana use was assessed — including that researchers could not be sure whether people had used the drug continuously since they first tried it.

READ MORE: Marijuana just one element of mental health treatment, users say

But she said the results chimed with plausible risks, since marijuana is known to affect the cardiovascular system.

“Marijuana stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, leading to increases in heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen demand,” she said.

Experts not directly involved in the study said its findings would need to be replicated, but already raised concerns.

“Despite the widely held view that cannabis is benign, this research adds to previous work suggesting otherwise,” said Ian Hamilton, a lecturer in mental health at Britain’s York University.