When it comes to the body’s ticker, nothing can be taken lightly. Cardiovascular health is key to maintaining overall wellness. As research continues to grow on how weed can be used to treat other medical conditions and health issues, many wonder about its effects on one of the body’s most vital organs and systems. Concerned for this important set of functions, users of both medical and recreational pot need the answer to a critical question. Does cannabis affect cardiovascular health?
What Makes for Good Cardiovascular Health?
Today, cardiovascular disease accounts for around 800,000 deaths per year. According to the American Heart Association, it remains the leading cause of death in the United States. Furthermore, the US spends the most annually on fighting and treating cardiovascular disease, expending over $300 billion every year. These numbers show how crucial it is that Americans start paying attention to their heart health.
Following a heart-healthy diet and sticking to an exercise program that includes cardio activity can help to keep the cardiovascular system in shape. This means avoiding salty food and foods loaded with saturated and trans fats. But also, if concerned about heart health, pay attention to blood pressure.
High blood pressure can cause strain on the heart and increase the chance of heart disease.
Alcohol has also shown to cause negative effects on the heart. But when it comes to weed, doctors and researchers are working to answer questions about heart health. Here are some answers to the question, “Does cannabis affect cardiovascular health?”
The (Mostly Positive) Effects of Cannabis
Research has shown the body’s endocannabinoid system responds well to the introduction of cannabis. The drug provides relief for a number of conditions, including MS, seizures, cancer treatment recovery, or eating disorders. But these medical issues don’t often involve the cardiovascular system.
Nonetheless, scientists and doctors continue to study the effects of pot on the blood-pumping organ. At the present moment, no consensus has been reached in the scientific community about the effects of marijuana on the heart.
But there has been promising findings suggesting it may. For example, a researcher named Alexander Stokes in Hawaii recently secured a patent for a cannabis-derived compound he believes can help to treat heart disease. By activating a receptor, this compound encourages the heart to work harder to pump blood.
Still, other studies show the opposite. Even small amounts of pot use have demonstrated an increase in arrhythmia and increase in blood pressure. Also, using weed can increase heart rate, bringing on a heart attack or stroke.
Particularly for young people, pot use can have an incredible risk. One study even noted that the risk of heart attack increased by up to 4.8 times.
Especially for those that already have issues with their heart health, consuming cannabis can cause issues with tachycardia or slowing heart rate.
Overall, research is still in the works to fully determine does cannabis affect cardiovascular health.
The Method of Consuming Cannabis
It isn’t a secret that smoking of any kind can cause health issues. However, for heart health, this can be especially true. Smoking cigarettes can compound poor heart issues. The act of smoking itself raises blood pressure, decreases the desire and ability to exercise, and increases the chance for a blood clot.
If you’re treating with medical marijuana for another issue but you want to maintain absolute heart health, choose another way to consume cannabis. Try an edible, like cannabis-infused tea or consider a trying a topical.
No matter what, when using medical weed, it is critical to include your doctor in the conversation about your health. They may have insight into how cannabis can affect your health and wellness and how it might interact with any other medications you may use.
Final Hit: Does Cannabis Affect Cardiovascular Health?
To conclude, we don’t know yet the full effect of weed on the heart. Though we are in the infancy of researching how marijuana interacts with the cardiovascular system, we can safely assume that the way one takes their medical weed matters.
Smoking can be a dangerous option, but edibles may be a safer option.
No matter what, consider your own personal health before lighting up a J. Involve your doctor and listen for changes in your heartbeat. Your heart may thank you for it.