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Are Marijuana And Heart Attacks Connected?

Are Marijuana And Heart Attacks Connected?

Marijuana (cannabis) has been around for a long time and has been used for medical purposes for centuries.

Several studies show non-medical and recreational use of marijuana can affect physical and mental health. But, is there a connection between marijuana and heart attacks? Let’s look at the evidence.

Other negative results of continued use of marijuana are:

  • risk of motor vehicle accidents
  • respiratory dysfunction 
  • cardiovascular problems
  • pneumomediastinum (air escaping from the lungs and into the chest cavity) (1)
  • Pneumothorax (air leaks into space between your lung and chest wall. It can cause your lung to collapse) (2)
  • pneumopericardium (air surrounding the heart) (3)
  • bullous lung disease (a severe lung disease marijuana smoking)(4)
  • increased risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Marijuana And Heart Attacks – How Are They Connected?

Marijuana And Heart Attacks - How Are They Connected?

Smoking marijuana could cause damage to the heart, according to a recent scientific report published in August 2020. There is a connection between marijuana and heart attacks

The research report, published by the American Heart Association, stated that although marijuana use may have some health benefits, there is no evidence that it can benefit the heart.

There aren’t many marijuana studies because it is designated a Schedule 1 controlled substance, established by the U.S. Controlled Substances Act as having no recognized medical use and a great potential for abuse. 

The American Heart Association, in its report, proposed that the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency (D.E.A.) exclude marijuana from the Schedule I classification so scientists can broadly study it.

Its use has increased over the past decade, and medical professionals are showing concern. Robert L. Page II, Pharm.D., M.S.P.H., FAHA., an expert in the field, announced the following:

  • We urgently need carefully designed, prospective short- and long-term studies regarding cannabis use and cardiovascular safety as it becomes increasingly available and more widely used…The public needs fact-based, valid scientific information about cannabis’s effect on the heart and blood vessels.

However, a study published in Trends in Cardiovascular Medicine – Volume 30, Issue 5, July 2020, Pages 298-307, stated that there is evidence that marijuana use may cause acute myocardial infarctions (A.M.I.s).

Acute myocardial infarction is a form of a heart attack when blood flow is reduced or stops flowing to a particular part of the heart, causing injury to the heart muscle.

Background: Following the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes in several U.S. states, both the use of marijuana and reports of A.M.I.s among marijuana users have increased. 

Despite the observational and mechanistic evidence linking marijuana smoking to A.M.I.s, the relationship has not been systematically reviewed.

The study: This paper is a systematic review of 46 articles comprising 62 cases of A.M.I.s in marijuana users. 

It analyzed the relationship between marijuana use (by type, amount, and duration) and the development of A.M.I.s.

The results: The 62 participants were aged 14–52 (28 on average), and 60 were male — 36 used regular marijuana, 21 used synthetic marijuana, and 5 used both. 

They’d smoked on average 3.7 g/day for 9.7 years. The average time of A.M.I. onset was within 5 hours after the last use of marijuana. 

In 42.1% of patients, the left anterior descending artery was blocked, making it the most common artery involved, followed by the right coronary artery (10.5%).

Research shows that marijuana can do more harm than good to your heart. (Source, Table 2)

  • Increase in heart-rate/blood pressure
  • Postural hypotension
  • Development of atrial fibrillation
  • Development of atrial Ischemia
  • Development of ventricular tachycardia/ventricular fibrillation
  • Increased risk of acute coronary events
  • Increased risk of arteritis/vasculitis
  • Increased risk of transient ischemic attacks
  • Increased risk of cerebrovascular stroke
  • Increased risk of reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS)
  • Increased risk of development of stress cardiomyopathy

It appears that smoking marijuana can affect the heart in so many ways.

Summary

Smoking marijuana may seem like a fun thing to do. No one thinks of its possible detrimental consequences.

There is evidence that marijuana and heart attacks are connected. Is getting high worth the risk? If you care about your health, you will know the answer.