The rapid growth of the cannabis industry has encouraged many to wonder about the potential health effects of marijuana use. More research is needed, but some studies suggest that cannabis and THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychoactive effects) may have negative cardiovascular effects, particularly in high doses or in people with certain cardiovascular risk factors.
Medical cannabis may be potentially used to relieve several conditions, from chronic pain and nausea to seizures and sleep disorders. But what does cannabis do to your
This article discusses the possible effects that cannabis may have on your cardiovascular system and the reasons why it is important to be aware of these side effects.
What Is THC and Its Effects on the Body
THC is short for “Tetrahydrocannabinol,” which is the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. The human brain contains cannabinoid receptors that react to both THC and other hemp cannabinoids. These receptors are activated by chemicals similar to THC that occur naturally in the body.
The activation produces the psychoactive effects of marijuana, such as relaxation, euphoria, and feelings of wellbeing. THC activates receptors in the brain responsible for pleasure, memory, cognitive ability, concentration, sensory and time perception, and coordinated movement.
Effects of CBD on the Body
CBD is one of the active ingredients in cannabis. However, it is not psychoactive. So, you won’t get high if you smoke it. But it does have medical applications.
Here are a few positive effects CBD has
- Strong antioxidant properties. That means it may help reduce oxidative stress within cells, implicated in many diseases, including heart disease and diabetes.
- It has anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is also linked to many diseases. CBD may therefore help in alleviating arthritis pain, among other ailments.
- CBD has antipsychotic properties. Recent data shows that CBD may help reduce psychotic symptoms in people suffering from schizophrenia, anxiety, or psychosis.
- It may help fight cancer. Animal studies have shown that CBD may help slow down tumor growth.
- CBD may potentially help in the treatment of seizures. Patients with epilepsy may use CBD oil while trying to reduce the severity of seizures. Several case studies describe the benefits of using CBD oil to treat epilepsy in children.
How THC and Cannabis Affects the Heart
Cannabis has many therapeutic effects, but few are cardiovascular. According to the American Heart Association, understanding cannabis safety and effectiveness has been hindered by decades of worldwide illegality and the ongoing classification of cannabis as a Schedule 1 controlled substance in the United States.
In some instances, chemical compounds found in cannabis have been linked with an increased risk of heart attack, heart failure, and atrial fibrillation. However, studies are observational, which means they can’t prove that these chemicals cause higher complication rates among users, as other factors may be involved.
Why Should You Be Careful When Consuming Cannabis
Before using cannabis, you should find out if you have pre-existing conditions like hypertension, diabetes, or high cholesterol since these are risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Cannabis can cause an irregular heart rate, which increases the risk of atrial fibrillation, a type of irregular heartbeat that may lead to blood clots and stroke. This may be true if
an individual has a condition that predisposes them to this issue.
Cannabis can also trigger an acute coronary syndrome in individuals who are vulnerable to it.
Research on the Effects of Marijuana on the Heart
Several studies have been conducted on the effects of marijuana on the heart. One study found that cannabis use was not linked to heart disease or death from
heart problems unless that person also smoked tobacco.
This is because cannabis contains over 500 compounds. When you smoke marijuana, you also ingest chemicals like acetaldehyde, ammonia, benzene, carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, and polycyclic hydrocarbons. These chemical compounds may increase the risk of developing heart disease.
In another study, cannabis use was associated with an increased risk of heart attacks independent of other cardiovascular risk factors. Women and young adults were at the
highest risk. Recent studies by the American Heart Association indicate that 6% of heart attack patients under the age of fifty had used marijuana. Marijuana users had higher mortality rates for all causes and cardiovascular disease.
Cannabis is increasingly being associated with a rise in cardiovascular hospitalizations among young people.
Distinguishing Benefits From Harms
There are some studies that show cannabis to be safe. THC may stimulate the heart and increase vascular inflammation and oxidative stress. These effects may lead to high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, and a higher risk of heart attack, stroke, and sudden death.
There is some evidence that cannabis’s endocannabinoids may ease inflammation and emotional stress, reducing the risk of heart disease.
According to cardiology experts, the active ingredients in marijuana that can increase the risk of heart disease may also prevent heart disease progression and development.
While cannabis has many medicinal uses, you must understand the potential risks involved with using it recreationally.
Despite this, more research is needed on cannabis use. Further studies are required to look at both short and long-term effects of marijuana and the effects of different
formulations and doses.
Until there is a clinical study determining if daily use of CBD reduces the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and mortality, you need to consult your physician before starting a CBD
If you are consuming cannabis and THC, it is essential to know how this can affect your heart health. Cannabis can potentially increase the risk for cardiovascular events in people who have a hypertension history. Your heart may be vulnerable if you consume too much THC, so make sure you monitor what amount works best for your lifestyle.
You should also avoid mixing alcohol or other substances that might increase blood pressure when using cannabis products containing high THC levels because there could be serious consequences for your circulatory system.
Consult with your doctor before making any changes to medications or supplements, including marijuana use, so you can understand what type of risks exist before diving in