How Cannabis and THC Affect Your Heart Health


  • THC is the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, or marijuana, that can make a person feel high.
  • THC-containing products stimulate the heart as well as promote vascular inflammation and oxidative stress.
  • This can lead to high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythm, and a higher risk of heart attack, stroke, and sudden death.

According to a report by the American Heart Association (AHA), cannabis may have medicinal properties, but it can also be harmful to the heart and blood vessels.

AHA’s statement in the circulation journal looks at many studies on the subject, as cannabis use has increased over the past decade.

Cannabis, also known as marijuana, refers to varieties of cannabis plants that contain tetrahydrocarbonabinol (THC).

THC is the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis that can make a person feel high. Cannabinoids are compounds in cannabis. Cannabidil or CBD is a commonly known cannabinoid that has some health benefits. CBD is different from THC.

Researchers have had a hard time studying cannabis, as it is listed by the US Controlled Substances Act as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. By definition it has no medical use and is likely to be misused. In the report, the AHA encouraged the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration to remove from the designation.

Chemicals in cannabis have been linked to a higher risk for heart attack, heart failure, and atrial fibrillation. But those studies have been observed and did not prove that the chemicals were the cause of the increased risk.

A study cited in the AHA statement reported that 6 percent of patients under the age of 50 had a heart attack that used cannabis. This was associated with worse all-cause and cardiovascular mortality. Another study found cannabis users between the ages of 18 and 44 were more likely to have a stroke, with even more heterogeneity among those who used it more often than those who did not use cannabis. Were.

Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, cardiologist Dr. Chip Lavi stated that it is already known that cannabis can adversely affect coagulation, exacerbate acute cardiac events and cause poor vascular effects.

“We still don’t realize the impact on occasional users, high-dose users, and very old users,” Lavi told Healthline.

When cannabis is used on a short-term basis in some patients, the benefits may reduce the risks. Additional dangers still exist with impure products and vaping, however, he said.

Cardiologists at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts, Drs. Muthiah Vaduganathan pointed out that some forms of cannabis delivery, such as vaping, may have unique heart health effects.

Vadnuganathan said, because cannabinoid receptors are distributed throughout the body, including the heart, there is a potential for effect on the heart.

Not all research on cannabis shows a loss, the AHA report states.

THC-containing products stimulate the heart as well as promote vascular inflammation and oxidative stress. It can cause elevated blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, and an overall high risk of heart attack, stroke, and sudden death, Drs. Michael Miller, a cardiology professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, explained.

If THC concentrations are too high, or taken in a short period of time, it has the potential to cause adverse reactions such as in older people on existing medications.

Conversely, CBD-containing products reduce inflammation and emotional stress, which, in turn, may serve to reduce the risk of heart disease.

“I was not aware of the potential opposing effects among THC in promoting heart disease compared to CBD, which may protect against its development and progression,” Miller said.

Although cannabis may be an effective treatment for medical purposes such as seizure control, or to reduce nausea and improve appetite in people with cancer or HIV, some people are not aware of its potential harm when recreational or Used for non-profit purposes, Miller said.

Miller hopes to see a well-designed clinical trial to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, or heart death from daily use of CBD.

Experts cite the lack of robust data in specifying the disadvantages and benefits of cannabis on the cardiovascular system. Due to increasing concentrations of THC in cannabis, earlier studies may only show the effects of lower levels of THC on people, the AHA report noted.

Most cannabis studies are observable and do not take into account that some cannabis users also smoke cigarettes, Miller said.

“I would love to know if, and to what extent, THC can be harmful to the heart in the absence of major risk factors such as cigarette smoking,” he said.

Dr., a senior research scientist at Kaiser Permanente North California Division of Research in Oakland, California. More research is necessary, said Stephen Sidney, as more than 65 people are using cannabis – and they are at highest risk of heart attack.

“Much of what we know about the cardiovascular effects of marijuana comes from studies of smoked marijuana. Much more research needs to be done on other forms of marijuana, such as edibles, tinctures, and subject preparation, ”Sydney told Healthline. “We also need to study how marijuana vaping affects the heart and lungs, as it has outpaced marijuana cigarette smoking as the most common use by teenagers.”

Waduganathan said that patients and doctors need to be open about the use and implications of cannabis.

“While cardiologists often ask and advise patients about tobacco use, they often screen for cannabis use. Waduganathan said patients may not uniformly recognize that cannabis can have a significant impact on blood pressure, cardiac drug metabolism, and overall cardiovascular health.

Some forms of cannabis are allowed to be used in 47 states, the District of Columbia, and 4 out of 5 US territories. Selling and using it is still outlawed, although variation in purchase and use practices is legal in many states.

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