Medical Marijuana for Pain Is Linked to Slight Rise in Heart Trouble

By Amy Norton HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Aug. 23, 2022 (HealthDay Information)

Individuals who use medical marijuana to deal with power ache could have a barely heightened danger of coronary heart arrhythmias, a preliminary examine suggests.

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Researchers discovered that amongst 1.6 million folks with power ache, these prescribed medical marijuana had been 64% extra prone to endure a coronary heart rhythm disturbance within the subsequent six months.

Absolutely the danger was small: about 0.9% of sufferers on medical marijuana developed an arrhythmia, in comparison with 0.5% of these not taking the drug.

Plus, consultants mentioned, the findings don’t show that medical marijuana, per se, is guilty.

Nonetheless, chemical compounds in marijuana are recognized to have an effect on the cardiovascular system — together with coronary heart price, blood strain and the tendency to type blood clots. And the findings add to considerations concerning the dangers of utilizing the drug, medicinally or in any other case, the examine authors mentioned.

“Simply because one thing is ‘pure’ does not imply it is secure,” mentioned Robert Web page, a professor on the College of Colorado Skaggs Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Web page, who was not concerned within the examine, was lead creator on an American Coronary heart Affiliation scientific assertion on the cardiovascular dangers of marijuana. It mentioned that a lot of research have linked marijuana use to elevated dangers of circumstances as severe as coronary heart assault and stroke.

However these kinds of research are unable to show trigger and impact: Most look again on the medical data of people that use marijuana and people who don’t, and can’t account for the entire different variations between these two teams.

That is true of the present examine, too, Web page mentioned.

He pointed to a key motive for the dearth of sturdy knowledge on marijuana’s well being results: The drug was unlawful for a few years throughout the globe, and below federal legislation, it stays a Schedule 1 managed substance in the USA, which limits the analysis that may be carried out.

But attitudes towards marijuana are quickly shifting. Medical marijuana is now authorized in most U.S. states, whereas 19 states and Washington, D.C., permit adults to make use of the drug recreationally, based on the Nationwide Convention of State Legislatures.

However legalization, Web page mentioned, shouldn’t be mistaken as proof of effectiveness or security.

On the very least, he mentioned, folks ought to keep away from smoking or vaping marijuana, resulting from all the opposite chemical compounds they’d be inhaling. However “edibles” have their points, too, Web page famous. Their results take longer to set in, and folks could “stack” doses — which may expose them to excessive quantities of THC (the chemical well-known for the marijuana “excessive”).

Some extensively out there hashish merchandise declare to include solely the non-intoxicating chemical cannabidiol (CBD). However there isn’t any option to know the way a lot CBD (if any) a product incorporates, Web page mentioned.

“The issue is: They’re unregulated. So it is purchaser beware,” he mentioned.

The brand new findings come from Denmark, the place medical marijuana was accredited in 2018. Medical doctors there can prescribe it for power ache in spite of everything normal therapies, together with opioid painkillers, fail to assist.

The researchers used a nationwide database with medical data from 1.6 million sufferers with power ache (associated to most cancers, arthritis, neurological circumstances and different causes). Just below 4,600 of them crammed at the least one prescription for medical hashish.

In Denmark, there are three accredited types of the drug, all taken orally, mentioned researcher Dr. Nina Nouhravesh of Gentofte College Hospital. They embrace oral options and sprays of CBD; teas containing a mixture of THC and CBD; and dronabinol, an artificial type of THC.

Total, the examine discovered, ache sufferers on any type of medical marijuana had been extra prone to develop a coronary heart arrhythmia within the six months after their first prescription, versus different sufferers.


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Nouhravesh was scheduled to current the findings Monday at a gathering of the European Society of Cardiology, in Barcelona. Research launched at conferences are usually thought-about preliminary till they’re printed in a peer-reviewed journal.

One difficulty, Web page mentioned, is that folks in power ache usually produce other well being issues, and take a number of medicines.

That was, certainly, the case on this examine. And sufferers on medical marijuana had been more likely to be taking opioids than different ache sufferers had been: 42%, versus 12%.

That is an vital distinction, mentioned Dr. Jim Cheung, chairman of the American School of Cardiology’s electrophysiology council.

Opioid use sometimes alerts extreme ache — which itself may contribute to some arrhythmias, Cheung defined.

He additionally famous that some arrhythmias are extra severe than others, and it is unclear whether or not medical marijuana was tied to any explicit kinds.

“I feel this examine highlights what we do not know,” Cheung mentioned. And that is vital in itself, he famous. Sufferers and docs needs to be conscious the drug is related to security “alerts” that have to be studied additional.

“We do not need to disregard that there could also be advantages for sufferers,” Cheung mentioned. “However we additionally need to be vigilant, simply as we might with any remedy, concerning the doable dangers.”

Extra data

Harvard Medical Faculty has extra on marijuana and coronary heart well being.

SOURCES: Nina Nouhravesh, MD, Gentofte College Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark; Jim Cheung, MD, chairman, Electrophysiology Member Part and Management Council, American School of Cardiology, Washington, D.C., and professor, drugs, Weill Cornell Medication, New York Metropolis; Robert Web page, PharmD, MSPH, professor, College of Colorado Skaggs Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Aurora, Colo.; presentation, European Society of Cardiology assembly, Aug. 22, 2022, Barcelona


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