By Sean Zucker –
Despite years of bad press, poor representation and suggestions it’s a gateway drug, cannabis has finally begun to be seen as less than devilish. This growing social transition can be seen by its decriminalization or full legalization in all but eight U.S. states as of July, 2020. Marijuana’s recent rising acceptance is not just based in disproving formerly held views of its negative impact but also its ever-growing list of therapeutic and medicinal benefits.
Medical News Today, in fact, reports there is evidence to support marijuana’s ability to relieve depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy related symptoms. The American Cancer Society adds that cannabis may even help alleviate common side effects of cancer chemotherapy treatments, such as nausea and vomiting.
For all the good news for cannabis proponents, a recent American Heart Association study reminds everyone that smoking weed is still smoking and therefore not great for your heart.
The study, which was published on Wednesday, investigated existing research on the correlation between marijuana and the heart. The association found that smoking weed has the potential to interfere with prescribed medications triggering cardiovascular complications or events, such as heart attacks and strokes.
Even for those not at risk because they don’t have a pre-existing heart condition or take prescriptions of any kind, the association warned of a general cardiac decline associated with the act of smoking. “The American Heart Association recommends that people not smoke or vape any substance, including cannabis products because of the potential harm to the heart, lungs and blood vessels,” said Dr. Rose Marie Robertson, the association’s deputy chief science and medical officer.
These findings reinforce a report from The Journal of the American College of Cardiology released in January that estimated more than 2 million U.S. adults who have used marijuana have cardiovascular disease. The report highlighted observational studies that suggested a strong association between smoking cannabis and a range of cardiovascular risks, although it noted few randomized clinical trials have been conducted or are planned to explore the correlation.
Overall, the journal emphasized that marijuana is becoming increasingly potent and smoking it carries many of the same cardiovascular health hazards as smoking tobacco because it carries many of the same toxic chemicals.
The American Heart Association study did note the relevance of many of the substance’s benefits. But it suggested users can limit the cardiac impact of the drug by ingesting it in oral or topical form rather than smoking it.
These warnings aren’t likely to slow down with growing demand for cannabis, especially amid increased focus on its benefits. But the threat of a joint leading to someone’s arteries going up in smoke might get users rethinking how they get their hits.