It can be safely said that cannabis hazards have long been exaggerated by moral crusaders and crews dealing with drug warfare. However, a new case study suggests that, under the very circumstances, a pot can really cause serious health problems. According to new paper, a 70-year-old Canadian man with previous cardiovascular disease suffered a heart attack shortly after being treated with a lozenge.
The study was released this month in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology. Describes a 70-year-old male with coronary heart disease, a condition in which plaque accumulation in the arteries narrows the blood flow to the heart. At that time a man was relatively stable for two years and took drugs to manage his condition.
Within 30 minutes of consuming a "marijuana liver" he hoped would help him to sleep, the man began to sweat heavily, turn as white as a ghost and suffer from chest pain. He was taken to a hospital with a heart attack diagnosis. But while he was successfully treated, he did not escape unharmed – his cardiac function worsened afterwards as well as his ability to exercise and perform daily activities.
"Marijuana can be a useful tool for many patients, especially for pain and relief of nausea. At the same time, like any other medication, it carries risk and side effects, "says study author Alexandra Saunders, Cardiologist and Head of Internal Program at Dalhousie University in New Brunswick.
According to his doctors, man's heart attack was a perfect storm.
First, while in youth, he was dealing with a honeysuckle, lycopene was the first cannabis product he had taken for a long time. This is important because many products now contain much more THC (the main ingredient responsible for a high level of psychoactive drugs) than before a decade. Human inexperience with delayed edible effects also caused him to consume almost the whole thing, giving him much higher THC dosage than people are still taking it today. This higher dose, coupled with its lack of tolerance, led to the enduring terrible hallucinations that made it incredibly worried. Then anxiety sent her already fragile cardiovascular system into a bumpy effect, probably causing a heart attack.
Apart from the effects of anxiety, it is well known that cannabis directly affects the cardiovascular system, including heart rate acceleration for several hours. However, the link between cannabis use and cardiac risk problems has rarely been studied without clear conclusions. Two years ago, doctors published a controversial case study of an 11-month-old boy who died of a heart attack after drinking cannabis. The case was declared possible with the first lethal case of cannabis ever documented. But doctors soon clarified their findings, claiming that they only found a link that was worth studying, rather than definitely showing that the pot could kill (indirectly, however, the increased drug popularity probably caused a small, but real, increase in traffic accidents. ).
This is roughly the same approach that the researchers behind this latest case study are taking.
"The outcome of this case is important with the new legalization of marijuana – we hope that using marijuana will no longer be criminalized, more research into cardiovascular side effects will occur," they wrote.
While the US is slowly pushing for the legalization of cannabis on a national level, Canada has completely legalized cannabis for recreational use last year.[Canadian Journal of Cardiology via Elsevier]