Science and medicine have converged in recent years accepting that cannabis contains medicinal properties. However, a recent report from the American Heart Association (AHA) states cannabis may be harmful to the heart and blood vessels as well. Specifically, the report refers to the effects of THC on the heart. To remind ourselves, THC refers to tetrahydrocannabinol, the compound responsible for the physical and mental effects provided from consuming marijuana.
According to Healthline.com the report indicates “THC-containing products stimulate the heart as well as promote vascular inflammation and oxidative stress. This may lead to elevated blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, and overall higher risk of heart attack, stroke, and sudden death”. Dr. Stephen Sidney a senior research scientist with the Kaiser Permanente states more research is urgent, as more people 65 and older are using cannabis and they are at the highest risk for heart attack.
Again the research is specifically about how THC affects the heart. THC is the primary mental stimulant psychoactive element in cannabis. Cannabinoids are also compounds in cannabis. Cannabidoil or CBD, a commonly known cannabinoid, is often used for health benefits. CBD is different from THC in that it provides no psychoactive benefits from use.
There are some caveats to this research that must be discussed. It is difficult for researchers to study cannabis in the United States. In this country the U.S. Controlled Substances Act defines it as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. By definition that means it is regarded as having no medical use. In the published report, the AHA encouraged the federal Drug Enforcement Administration to remove it from the designation so it can be further studied.
Dr. Chip Lavie helps us get right to the heart of what is actually “known”… Dr. Lavie, a cardiologist at the Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, states “it’s already known that cannabis can have adverse effects on coagulation, increase acute cardiovascular events, and lead to poor vascular effects”. Dr. Lavie then goes on to state “we still do not have a feel on the impact on occasional users, high dose users, and very chronic users,” Lavie told Healthline.
Dr. Miller at the University of Maryland School of medicine talked about the need for further research in balancing the effects of THC on the heart with CBD. DR. Miller admits he “was not aware of the potential opposing effects between THC in the promotion of heart disease as compared to CBD which may protect against its development and progression”. It is definite that more research is needed in this field. It is also to be noted that the scientists in this report all used the terms may, might, and possibly. This language suggests these are theories that are sought to be proved or disproved and have not been placed under the scrutiny of a research protocol. 4:20 participants I suggest implementing, if you do not already do so. Daily practices of walking, exercise, eating habits that support heart health, and a means to reducing stress/cortisol from affecting the mind and heart. 4:20 out!