There is perhaps no such thing in this universe which comes only with pros. No matter how beneficial a herb is deemed for human consumption, it is always accompanied with at least a few cons, if not many. Same is the case with marijuana, which, has so far been regarded a panacea by many enthusiasts.
What does the American Heart Association (AHA) say?
A scientific paper published only recently by the AHA suggests that marijuana use increased the risk of heart attacks; irregular heartbeats (atrial fibrillation); heart failure; a roughly 2.5 times higher risk of strokes; chest pain; and high blood pressure. In a nutshell, AHA states that marijuana exhibits “substantial risks” and “no benefits for cardiovascular health”.
How does marijuana pose risks for the heart?
As you may already know, the cannabis plant contains over 110 cannabinoids, out of which not much research is available on the long-term use of the majority of them, especially those present in minute quantities.
However, many studies which have taken into account the effects of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the psychoactive chemical responsible for giving you the ‘high’ – have found that THC inhibits some enzymes in the body, which may interfere with the way we metabolize many heart disease medications, such as blood-thinning warfarin and bad cholesterol lowering drugs.
Furthermore, the AHA reports that THC stimulates the body’s ‘flight or fight’ response, which in turn increases the heart rate and blood pressure while laying down, leading to dysfunction within the walls of the arteries. Reportedly, states that have legalized the use of cannabis for recreational use have seen a sharp increase in ER visits and hospitalization for heart attacks.
Dr. Rose Marie Robertson, the deputy chief office for the AHA, says that smoking or vaping marijuana, irrespective of its THC concentrations, increases the levels of carbon monoxide and tar in the body in the same way as smoking cigarette does.
Notably, last year, many Americans fell sick to vaping-related lung illnesses and despite the startling facts, many Americans still consider vaping marijuana as a safer alternative.
Do marijuana edibles also carry the same risk?
Although consuming edibles containing THC isn’t as harmful as smoking or vaping, users should, of course, refrain from ingesting an overdose, even accidentally. Reportedly, last year, a Canadian man with a pre-existing heart condition had to be hospitalized after he ate a lollipop containing 90mg of THC, which he usually took to treat his arthritis pain. Interestingly, marijuana smokers typically inhale 7mg of THC while enjoying a single marijuana joint.
The Bottom Line…..
The research on the cannabis plant and its compounds is still in its infancy; and the American Health Association itself believes that it is too early to deem the drug safe or harmful, without examining its long term health effects. Nevertheless, the present studies point strongly enough towards the fact that smoking or vaping marijuana could have adverse affect on our heart.