June 2024

Cardiovascular Concerns with Cannabis

Talk to patients about new data linking regular cannabis use with serious cardiovascular adverse effects. As the DEA considers the rescheduling of cannabis, and access is greater than ever, it’s important to remind patients that regular use doesn’t come without risks.

A recent study in adults 18-74-years-old suggests that daily cannabis use is linked with a 25% increased chance of heart attack and a 42% increased chance of stroke when compared with nonuse, regardless of cigarette smoking history. This chance decreases as cannabis is used less frequently – a point worth highlighting to daily users. Most participants in this study reported smoking cannabis, so it’s unclear if this link also applies to other forms, such as edibles. But previous studies have linked edible products containing very large doses of THC, 50 mg or more, to both heart attack and abnormal heartbeat.

In addition to cardiovascular concerns, chronic cannabis use also poses a variety of other safety concerns, including potential respiratory problems, dependence, and serious conditions like cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS). Furthermore, cannabis and cannabis-containing products continue to increase in potency. Keep an open dialogue with patients about their cannabis use – discussing both why they use it and how often. Note that chronic and daily use appears to be linked with the most serious adverse effects.

We recently updated our cannabis, THC, and CBD monographs with the latest evidence. Check them out to learn more.

The information in this brief report is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions. Copyright © 2024 NatMed. Commercial distribution or reproduction prohibited. NatMed is the leading provider of high-quality, evidence-based, clinically-relevant information on natural medicine, dietary supplements, herbs, vitamins, minerals, functional foods, diets, complementary practices, CAM modalities, exercises and medical conditions. Monograph sections include interactions with herbs, drugs, foods and labs, contraindications, depletions, dosing, toxicology, adverse effects, pregnancy and lactation data, synonyms, safety and effectiveness.