Potential Link Between Marijuana and Heart Risks Discovered by Cardiologists

Marijuana Heart Disease

Review recommends patients at risk of cardiovascular events should be counseled to avoid or minimize marijuana use until further data are available.

As more states legalize marijuana for both medicinal and recreational use and use increases nationwide, cardiologists should advise patients about the potential risks, including effects of marijuana with some commonly prescribed cardiovascular medications, according to a research review published today (January 20, 2020) in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The authors estimate that more than 2 million cardiovascular disease patients are currently using marijuana or have used marijuana previously. This includes recreational use and approved medical uses, such as human immunodeficiency virus-related weight loss, treatment of seizure disorders, or chemotherapy-associated nausea and vomiting.

“Our review suggests that smoking marijuana carries many of the same cardiovascular health hazards as smoking tobacco.”

“Some observational studies have suggested an association between marijuana and a range of cardiovascular risks,” said lead author Muthiah Vaduganathan, MD, MPH, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s Heart and Vascular Center in Boston. “We also know that marijuana is becoming increasingly potent. Our review suggests that smoking marijuana carries many of the same cardiovascular health hazards as smoking tobacco. While the level of evidence is modest, there’s enough data for us to advise caution in using marijuana for our highest-risk patients, including those who present with a heart attack or new arrhythmia, or who have been hospitalized with heart failure.”

Certain cardiovascular medications, including statins and blood thinners, can be affected by marijuana use, the review found. For example, statin levels can increase in the blood when used together with marijuana because both are metabolized through a network of liver enzymes called the cytochrome P450 system. Levels of blood thinners such as warfarin also can be expected to increase when used together with marijuana.

“The review provides detailed tables of many drugs administered for various cardiovascular conditions, with the anticipated effects of marijuana on each one,” Vaduganathan said. “These will be helpful to cardiologists and pharmacists reviewing patients’ medications and will help them collaboratively decide whether they need to adjust dosing if the patient continues to use marijuana.”

The reviewers recommend that cardiologists screen their patients for marijuana use, asking them how often and how much they use. They also should ask about how they use marijuana.

“Vaping marijuana is becoming more and more common, and we know vaping marijuana increases the pharmacological effects of the drug,” Vaduganathan said.

For patients who wish to continue to use marijuana, or who have other medically indicated reasons for use, the reviewers recommend limiting use as much as possible and for clinicians to inform patients that vaping and certain synthetic forms of cannabinoids are particularly potent and may have greater adverse effects.

In some patients, cardiologists should test for marijuana use by urine toxicology screening, the reviewers recommend. These include patients being considered for heart transplantation or those who present with early-onset heart attacks or heart failure at a young age.

The review also analyzed the current state of evidence linking marijuana use with cardiovascular health and disease.

Data on the exact health effects of marijuana on the cardiovascular system are limited, largely because federal laws that classify marijuana as a Schedule I drug have limited the ability of scientists to conduct high-quality research, Vaduganathan said.

“Now that we have seen marijuana use become more popular than tobacco smoking, we need more rigorous research, including randomized clinical trials, to explore the effects of marijuana on cardiovascular health,” he said.

Reference: “Marijuana Use in Patients With Cardiovascular Disease” by Ersilia M. DeFilippis, Navkaranbir S. Bajaj, Amitoj Singh, Rhynn Malloy, Michael M. Givertz, Ron Blankstein, Deepak L. Bhatt and Muthiah Vaduganathan, 20 January 2020, Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2019.11.025

28 Comments on "Potential Link Between Marijuana and Heart Risks Discovered by Cardiologists"

  1. Biased bullshit.
    Show us the science on paper. Lead us to the actual, physical scientific “proof”.
    And while you’re at it — reveal the funding source for this so-called “scientific study”.

    • This guy is so high he doesn’t see the link at the end of the article.

      Let us know who is funding these deceitful people at … ummm … The Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

      • I think that is who published it; not who funded it.

        • Right. He was asking for the science details, and I pointed out that the article linked to the science paper. Click the link and you get all the authors, all their affiliations, and all their funding details as well.

          Should answer all his questions, unless he has some issue with the publisher, The Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

          • Jonathan Chatfield | January 21, 2020 at 8:06 am |

            A veritable Who’s Who of Big Pharma. No thanks for this ‘science’
            Abbott, Amarin, Amgen, AstraZeneca, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Chiesi, CSL Behring, Eisai, Ethicon, Forest Laboratories, Fractyl, Idorsia, Ironwood, Ischemix, Lilly, Medtronic, PhaseBio, PLx Pharma, Pfizer, Regeneron, Roche, Sanofi, Synaptic, and The Medicines Company

  2. “Some observational studies have suggested… ”

    ‘Observational studies’ ??
    What kind of inflammatory nonsense is this????

    • Calm down Bruno. It’s called a peer reviewed journal. You have to go read the full study to help answer your questions. This is just a short news summary, not the actual study.

  3. WhoEverLetItGetPublished | January 21, 2020 at 4:30 am | Reply

    What BS!

  4. Thisismadeupcrap | January 21, 2020 at 6:28 am | Reply

    What I took away from this is NOT that marijuana increases any risk, but that it can interact with the drugs prescribed to people. Seems to me that this is a big deal because of the big money that big pharma makes on these drugs. We can’t have people using a plant instead of the chemical crap pushed on us so money can be made. We desparately need to get big money out of medical care. Perhaps than, we would get real studies, real treatment, and real health.

  5. Funny hoe so late in this exploration have they decided to find a link.

  6. I smoke, I had a heart attack. A widow maker heart attack. Afterwards, I did not take the prescribed medications, statins, blood thinners, blood pressure meds, etc. But I continued to smoke. 9 months later, I went in for tests, heart is perfect, blood pressure perfect, my life expectancy went from 6 months to 40+ years. Docs called it “an anomaly”. But I suspect that the prescribed drugs are done so out of habit, and profit, not out of need.
    Why didn’t I take the prescriptions? 1.) I did not trust them to not damage other organs. 2.) I was supposed to die anyway, I’ll go out with a doob in my hand, not a bottle of BS pharmaceuticals. My choice. Turned out to be a good one.

  7. You’re badass, made my day!

  8. Another weak attempt from big pharma, a BS study. I wonder what they will do when the buildings explode

  9. Still alive,

    Well that’s scientific. And proof . Kevin will go with that

  10. For the people who are worried that big pharma will always put down herb because some how it is competition to them. You know , cause it’s cheap , natural and you can grow it yourself. Do you realize that most medicines are cheap and natural, Pharma Packages it to make it more effective and often safer. But regardless big pharma can sell you vitamin c for a pretty penny. And they do. They can figure out a way to sell it for various reasons . Some real and some exaggerated. They don’t need to hide the fact that vitamin c can be good for you. But all medicine and drugs are better when they are dosed thoughtfully, appropriately and consistently for the individuals specific needs and conditions. Which are all different. And most people will choose that route then say going down to the local organic food store and dosing 10000 milligrams because someone on the internet said it saved their life. I mean my grandpa lived too 100 and smoked most of his life, should I try that? Maybe smoking everyday is what saved him? I mean that is the logic being used. If pharma finds a drug that will cure you of cancer, they won’t hide it from you, as many on the internet and beyond suggest, they will package it and sell it to you. And that’s not always a bad thing.

  11. I used to smoke and vape weed. I stopped because of heart pain and fear of a heart attack. Smoking DOES in fact cause heart attacks and heart failure. If you want to properly use marijuana ingest the oil or make edibles. Marijuana is not dangerous, smoking and vaping are for your heart.

  12. I don’t smoke marijuana out of caution due to many years of particulate exposure during my work in the construction industry. Thanks that I live in a state where cannabis is legal,I can readily purchase edibles. I use those edibles every night before bed. It has aided my sleep immensely. Last time I checked, insomnia a risk for causing heart related illness as well.

  13. Clearly biased BS. More hit pieces on the threat to big pharma. The title should say “Cannabis is Potentially as Dangerous as Grapefruit for Cardiovascular Health”. It affects the enzyme in exactly that manner and is why it shows up as a warning on so many medications. So, thanks for the science, but please hold the scare tactics. And yes, clearly NotADoctor, they can be incredibly biased as they have financial interests to protect.

  14. You can sum up this article in one short sentence. “Weed use may lower your cholesterol and Blood pressure, which could affect your doctors dosing guidelines for Statins and Blood Pressure meds.”

  15. The article was written by drug company lackeys, and the “real” message is buried further in the review article, but makes the position of the funders of the research quite clear: “…it is critical to regulate marijuana…”

    ’nuff said

  16. Misleading and click-baity title. Heart meds are affected by cannabis. Not new knowledge, nor shocking. Many compounds affect heart meds, especially ones found in grapefruit, and docs say you should not eat grapefruit if you are on blood thinners or statins. It’s good to know if you are, and toke. Basically any food or drug that affects the cytochrome P450 system does this.

  17. Revised headline should read: Potential Link Between Marijuana and Big Pharma Profits Discovered by Cardiologists funded by Big Pharma. The unspoken irony is that true peer reviewed science is scant because cannabis is still a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance. Thus, the data is skewed and limited in scope such that the results favor the economic interests of the drug companies that pay for the results.

    Cannabis legalization is following the path of alcohol legalization; states defy federal anti-cannaibs hegemony in the name of the 10th amendment or states rights privileges including appropriate management and regulation of the drug. When cannabis is no longer deemed a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance, banks/financial institutions will be legally enabled to participate in cannabis sales with accepted accounting practices and scientists will be free to study the medical effects of cannabis with impunity from federal law.

    Until that day, Big Pharma will continue to pay for and publish studies that influence the status quo Draconian hegemony of cannabis prohibition in the USA. Canada and Mexico are quickly moving to legalize cannabis in their respective jurisdictions and officially reject international doctrines that outlaw cannabis while they establish new markets in cannabis sativa, including industrial hemp production and distribution.

  18. That is some whack-ass looking weed. Pulled from a vault of 1980’s duff?

  19. Was going to point out that this is the sort of thing which makes me stop believing the government about cannabis use…. except that all the BS they pumped out during Nancy Reagan’s “war on drugs” already did that….

  20. Reggirt Reggin | January 21, 2020 at 4:33 pm | Reply

    The fact is, it’s a stimulant and raises your heart rate. This is simple enough to observe and verify. If you have ticker problems, don’t be a fool.

  21. I’m 49 and was diagnosed with a severe heart condition at the age of 27. I am on heart meds and have an ICD (implanted cardiac device). I’ve been smoking marijuana DAILY for 10 years it has help with a lot of things from pain to depression. I don’t like taking pills since I’ve been on daily regimen of pills since I was 27. I’m telling everyone that this study is so true about all they are saying. The information just hit me like a ton of bricks last night when I seen the report on the evening new. So as of today I’m no long going to smoke daily. Wish me luck. I’ve had all of the symptoms and just realized why last night.

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