MARIJUANA: Damages the heart
July 16, 2020 • 1 min read
-- Even edibles affect cardiovascular system
Legalised use of marijuana has spiked consumption in the US. Even older Americans aged over 65 are sparking up in far greater numbers, a recent study reports.
But converging evidence suggests the drug may be harmful to the heart.
Many people assume smoking or vaping marijuana isn’t as dangerous as smoking cigarettes, says Dr. Muthiah Vaduganathan, a cardiologist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
“But when people smoke tobacco, they take frequent, small puffs. In contrast, smoking marijuana usually involves large puffs with longer breath holds,” he says, adding that it may deposit more chemical toxins into the lungs.
Marijuana can cause the heart to beat faster and blood pressure to rise, which is dangerous for people with heart disease. And the risk of heart attack is several times higher in the hour after smoking marijuana, research suggests.
Other studies have found a link between marijuana use and atrial fibrillation, the most common heart rhythm disorder. Another survey suggests smoking marijuana may raise the risk of a stroke.
Most of the evidence about marijuana is based on studies of people who smoked it, but edibles or tinctures can also affect your cardiovascular system.
The two most prevalent cannabinoids in marijuana – tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) bind to specific receptors in the brain. However, cannabinoid receptors are also present throughout the body, including on heart cells, fat cells, and platelets.
Not so dope after all.