Marijuana and Heart Health
Posted by Glenn Beierle on 02/07/2019 in Ailments and Conditions
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
Marijuana medicine has a variety of benefits for symptoms such as chronic pain, inflammation, and seizures. With heart disease a prevalent concern in the United States, you may wonder — can it also relieve cardiovascular symptoms?
Does Marijuana Harm Heart Health?
Most of the research we have on marijuana’s impact on heart health has inconclusive results. Like many other cannabis-related topics, the subject of marijuana and cardiovascular wellness involves little research. Many of the studies completed have small sample sizes or confounding factors and focus on smoking cannabis high in THC. This data leaves out non-smoked and high-CBD medicine.
However, we have an increasing base of knowledge that suggests cannabis could improve your cardiovascular health. Since we have preliminary data, we recommend consulting a marijuana-positive cardiologist to develop a heart-healthy treatment plan. You can find one using our doctor directory. Narrow your search using your zip code and select “Cardiologist” from the “Specialist” drop-down menu.
Medical Marijuana for Heart Health
We have two large-scale studies that suggest marijuana could improve your heart health by reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease. This research used nationwide data to determine the connection between cannabis use and heart wellness.
The first study, published in March 2017, analyzed information from the CDC’s 2014 National Inpatient Sample database. This data covered information about 7,071,762 patients nationwide, with 122,423 identified as marijuana users. In this study, the authors aimed to understand the marijuana-using patients’ risk of blood vessel disease compared to non-users. They found that patients who self-identified as marijuana users had a 20 percent lower risk than non-users.
In the second study, researchers looked at data from 1,273,897 heart attack patients, with 3,854 of them reporting marijuana use. They excluded patients who used alcohol, cocaine or methamphetamine. The authors wanted to see how cannabis impacted the patients’ risk of irregular heart rate and mortality. Patients who used marijuana had lower rates of irregular heart rate and mortality than non-users.
These studies show great promise for cannabis’ potential to help heart patients. We can’t wait to see what researchers discover next about marijuana and cardiovascular health.
Cannabis and Heart Rate
Medical marijuana can cause an elevated heart rate as a side effect. Researchers think that THC has a role to play in this phenomenon, so medicine with a low amount of the cannabinoid could keep your heart rate steady. Since we have preliminary research on the subject, we recommend talking to your doctor before using medical marijuana as a heart patient. You can work together to find a treatment plan that benefits your cardiovascular health.
Marijuana’s Impact on Blood Pressure
We also have conflicting information on marijuana and blood pressure. Since we don’t understand how THC raises blood pressure, recommending cannabis medicine for this symptom takes careful consideration. Research shows that CBD could regulate hypertension with supervision from a doctor. It helps the body retain anandamide, a compound that relaxes blood vessels and contributes to lower blood pressure.
Treating Patients With Heart Issues With Cannabis Medicine
With help from a cannabis-positive doctor, you can find a medical marijuana treatment plan that helps you relieve the symptoms of heart disease.
Cannabis medicine can treat:
- Coronary Artery Disease: Certain types of cannabis medicine can help you relieve stress. When you have coronary artery disease, reducing the amount of anxiety you feel assists with managing symptoms such as angina.
- Heart Attacks: CBD and medical marijuana can help heart attack patients prevent a re-occurrence. While CBD has the potential to decrease vascular tension, cannabis medicine can reduce diabetes-related inflammation.
- Arteriosclerotic Heart Disease: Medical marijuana slows the progression of atherosclerosis by reducing inflammation. It can also relieve nausea, mood symptoms, and headaches.
- Strokes: Cannabis has neuroprotective properties that can mitigate stroke-related brain damage. It works as an antioxidant that reduces cell damage.
You can also use medicinal marijuana for a wide range of additional heart conditions. Talk to your physician about the options available for your symptoms to see what it can do for you.
Medicinal Marijuana as Part of a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle
Health-conscious patients can also use medical cannabis to support heart-healthy habits. Try supplementing the following activities with marijuana medicine:
- Exercise: Sativa-based medications have energizing and clarifying properties that motivate you to get moving. Medical marijuana also reduces inflammation to relieve post-workout muscle aches.
- Smoking Cessation: Cannabis medication can help you handle the withdrawal symptoms of trying to quit cigarettes. Having fewer cravings and withdrawal effects can help you stay on track.
- Manage Diabetes: Evidence suggests that medicinal marijuana could lower diabetes-related inflammation that can contribute to heart disease. It also helps diabetes patients manage other symptoms of their condition.
- Reduce Alcohol Use: Did you know that marijuana legalization lowers alcohol sales in the region? Cannabis can also relieve symptoms that some patients self-medicate with alcohol.
- Lower Stress and Treat Anxiety: When you find a marijuana strain that works with your body, you can use it for stress relief. Medicinal cannabis can reduce the symptoms of anxiety and lower the associated heart risks.
Medical marijuana treatment can improve many aspects of your life. Brainstorm ways you can work toward a healthier heart and how you can use cannabis medicine to help you meet those goals.
How to Use Cannabis Medicine for Your Heart
We recommend consulting a doctor to learn the best ways to use cannabis for your heart condition. Your doctor may discourage you from smoking unless it is your only viable method of consumption option. A trained dispensary staff member can also help you find a product that will fit your needs as a heart patient. The medical cannabis field has numerous professionals ready to help you live your healthiest life.
Learn More About Medicinal Marijuana and Your Heart
At MarijuanaDoctors.com, we aim to provide you with everything you need to know about cannabis medicine and your health. We have information on numerous health issues related to cardiovascular wellness. To learn more about the symptoms you can treat with medical marijuana, check out our list of cannabis-responsive conditions.