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Is It Smoking Weed Or Just Smoking That’s Bad For Your Heart?

By Terry Hacienda, The Fresh Toast on

Published in Cannabis Daily

A cardiologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Nav Bajaj, MD, says smoking cannabis might be worse for your heart than taking it any other way, like through edibles. When you smoke marijuana, it breaks down into a variety of compounds, which, aside from cannabinoids, may have adverse effects on the heart and blood vessels, Bajaj added. However, he points out that there needs to be more research to be certain.

Smoking cannabis has been proven to expose you to the same irritants, toxins, and carcinogens as smoking cigarettes. In addition, when smoking cannabis, users often inhale more deeply than tobacco smokers, which leads to more exposure to tar.

Although Bajaj agrees that smoke of all kinds can destroy the heart and arteries, there simply isn’t enough full-scale research to observe exactly how cannabis will compare to cigarettes in heart health. Cigarette smokers are two to four times more likely than non-smokers to develop coronary artery disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Marijuana and Heart Disease Cannabis may lead to an increased vulnerability to heart disease, as seen in a systematic review in 2019. Of the 33 people involved in the study, 28 found out that cannabis use can increase the risk of acute coronary syndrome and cardiovascular disease, which is characterized by a sudden rupture of plaque inside the coronary artery that can result in a heart attack.

Furthermore, Bajaj and his team not long ago published a study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology researching how cannabis affects people who have cardiovascular disease. An estimated 2 million people with cardiovascular disease consume cannabis, although Bajaj points out that the number is likely under-reported.

Cannabis can be hurtful to people with atherosclerotic cardiovascular illnesses, or those that involve the formation of plaque in the arteries, by raising blood pressure and heart rate and rousing the sympathetic nervous system, which in turn regulates the stress response for flight or fight.

Following the study of Bajaj, this response can lead to an increase in the amount of oxygen needed by the heart. When joined with other factors of heart disease, such as the formation of plaque in the cardiac arteries, it can lead to risky heart conditions. For instance, low oxygen levels in the heart along with a blocked heart artery can lead to a heart attack. Bottom Line There is still a lot of conflicting information on the relationship between marijuana and some cardiovascular problems, particularly cardiac rhythm issues. For instance, some research has discovered that marijuana use is linked with a greater risk of arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia, and ventricular fibrillation. But other people have suggested that cannabis has no effect on ventricular fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia and that it may even lessen the risk of getting atrial fibrillation.

 

In addition, some professionals say that the use of cannabis does not pose a severe threat to people at very low risk for heart disease. But a different study discovered that young people who smoke cannabis for more than 10 days in a month are two and a half times more likely to get a stroke than non-users, even if they do not use tobacco products.

Many of these studies have not yet established any causal relationship between cardiovascular disease, cannabis use, and the occurrence of an association that does not necessarily imply that marijuana is to blame for causing a stroke or arrhythmia. Although there is still a lot we have yet to discover about cannabis and cardiovascular health, Bajaj indicates where the initial data is pointing, saying that it is known that there is evidence of some harm, but it has to be proven beyond doubt.

This article originally appeared on Cannabis.net and has been reposted with permission.

The Fresh Toast is a daily lifestyle platform with a side of cannabis. For more information, visit www.thefreshtoast.com.

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