How does marijuana affect the heart?

Gallup poll indicates that Americans’ support for legalizing marijuana has been around 66% in 2018, after rising 30% points between 2005 and 2018 [2]. In a 2019 Gallup poll, 13% of US adults reported smoking cannabis, drug-induced tremor a percentage which was almost double the percentage reported 3 years earlier [3]. About 43% of adults in the USA reported having tried cannabis in 2019, 44% in 2018, 38% in 2013, and 4% in 1969 [3].

The role of medicinal cannabis including benefits and potential adverse effects, such as weight gain with regards to CV management, need to be validated in large blinded, randomized experiments. The justification for examining cannabis consumption in relation to cardiometabolic conditions is that cardiometabolic conditions are among the leading causes of mortality and are highly prevalent in the USA. A literature search indicates that relatively little is known about the relationship of cannabis use to CVD outcomes. Understanding the mechanism through which cannabis causes infarction may provide insight into the triggering of MI. It is important to find a safe window of applications (i.e., dose limit) whereby positive medical aspect of the cannabis can be realized. Studies that specifically look at CV effects of cannabis when administered by nonsmoking routes may be interesting.

  1. Type II chemovars have more of a balance between CBD and THC, while Type III chemovars are CBD dominant with little-to-no THC.
  2. Additionally, some extraction methods can result in pesticide and solvent contamination [28].
  3. Has some in‐kind donation of cannabis product from Aurora and medication donation from Pfizer and Bioprojet and was provided a coil for TMS study from Brainsway.
  4. Of our members who do track marijuana use, they are 43% likely to answer “yes” in the journal on any given day (45% for men, 38% for women).
  5. Heavy marijuana abusers who experience withdrawal when they stop using the drug will often experience feelings of anxiety and depression.

The cannabis withdrawal syndrome (CWS) is a criterion of cannabis use disorders (CUDs) (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – Fifth Edition) and cannabis dependence (International Classification of Diseases [ICD]-10). Regular cannabis intake is related to a desensitization and downregulation of human brain cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors. The CWS severity is dependent on the amount of cannabis used pre-cessation, gender, and heritable and several environmental factors.

Putatively beneficial agents

While users detoxing from marijuana may do so from home, some prefer to do so with the help of a detoxification (detox) facility. The addiction professionals working in these programs can help patients recovering from marijuana dependence stay safe and comfortable during the withdrawal process. Professional detox can also keep patients from relapsing during this critical time. Medical cannabis is available in more delivery methods than ever before, such as gummy bears, dried flowers, pills, lotions, drops and a variety of edibles, but what exactly does it do? With so much misinformation and junk-science on the internet, it is important to get solid facts from doctors and scientists you can trust before deciding if medical marijuana could help you.

Publication types

People use marijuana for a variety of reasons, including chronic pain, says Dr. Vaduganathan. “In my clinic, I ask people if they use marijuana, and most are quite open to these discussions,” he says. Although the evidence about marijuana’s potential harms is limited, people with heart disease should be cautious about using the drug, he says. For example, heart-related risks may be less relevant for people using marijuana at the end of life for palliative purposes, he adds.

When is Marijuana Used Most?

Cannabis is commonly used with tobacco [70], and in treatment‐seeking cannabis users approximately two‐thirds also use tobacco [71]. Tobacco withdrawal symptoms overlap with cannabis withdrawal and may have a similar intensity and time‐course [72, 73]. Table 4 outlines the withdrawal features observed in this complex case and possible management. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) may be considered during the withdrawal period and post‐detoxification if the patient desires to quit nicotine. A preliminary statistical test was conducted using a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) to determine if there was a main effect of drug condition (zolpidem versus placebo) on blood pressure and heart rate during the two cannabis abstinence periods. As expected, zolpidem did not affect daytime cardiovascular function compared with placebo.

Medications have been used to manage short‐term symptoms (e.g. anxiety, sleep, nausea). A number of promising pharmacological agents have been examined in controlled trials, but these have been underpowered and positive findings not reliably replicated. Inpatient admission for MAW may be clinically indicated for patients who have significant comorbid mental health disorders and polysubstance use to avoid severe complications. Because tolerance develops to the acute cardiovascular effects of cannabis with repeated use, it is plausible that a rebound increase in heart rate and blood pressure would be observed following abrupt cessation of heavy use.

Increased blood pressure after abrupt cessation of daily cannabis use

Some studies of recreational and regular cannabis users [37] and those seeking treatment [26, 38] report that females may experience more severe cannabis withdrawal symptoms than males, even when matched for cannabis use and other demographic characteristics. No medications have been shown to be effective in MAW in randomized persons who inject drugs pwid controlled trials (Table 2). As with all prescribing, a comprehensive medical, medicine and drug and alcohol use history should guide the use and doses of these medications. All medications have side‐effects and these need to be balanced against potential benefits from their unknown efficacy in this population.

Although causality with regards to cannabis use cannot be proven definitively in these cases, the temporal relationship between drug use and the onset of symptoms suggests a strong association. “If they had a heart attack six weeks ago, I wouldn’t start cannabis,” Grinspoon said. “I’d be very, very cautious unless there were incredibly compelling indications,” he added, referring to patients using it for medicinal purposes.