Cannabis is a popular recreational drug and is also increasingly being used for medicinal purposes. While it has been shown to have potential health benefits, there are concerns about its impact on heart health. Here is what you need to know about cannabis and heart health.
How Cannabis Affects the Heart
Cannabis contains compounds called cannabinoids, which interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system. This system is involved in the regulation of various bodily functions, including heart rate and blood pressure.
When cannabis is consumed, it can cause a temporary increase in heart rate and blood pressure. This effect is more pronounced when medical cannabis is smoked, as smoking can also lead to the inhalation of other harmful chemicals.
Long-term cannabis use has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes. This risk is thought to be related to the chronic increase in heart rate and blood pressure that can result from regular cannabis use.
In addition, some research suggests that cannabis use may also have negative effects on blood vessels, leading to reduced blood flow and an increased risk of atherosclerosis.
Cannabis and Heart Medications
Individuals who are taking medications for heart conditions should be aware that cannabis can interact with these medications. For example, cannabis can increase the blood-thinning effects of medications such as warfarin and aspirin, leading to an increased risk of bleeding.
Cannabis can also interact with medications used to treat high blood pressure, potentially leading to dangerous drops in blood pressure.
If you are taking medications for a heart condition, it is important to talk to your doctor before using cannabis to ensure that there are no potential interactions.
Safer Ways to Use Cannabis
While smoking cannabis is a popular method of consumption, it is not the safest way to use the drug, particularly for individuals with heart conditions.
Alternative methods of consumption, such as edibles and tinctures, may be safer for individuals with heart conditions as they do not involve inhalation of smoke.
It is also important to use cannabis in moderation and to avoid consuming large amounts of the drug at once, as this can lead to a more pronounced increase in heart rate and blood pressure.