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How Does Marijuana Affect The Heart?

How Does Marijuana Affect the Heart

Also known as weed, herb, pot, and ganja, marijuana is a greenish-gray mixture of dried leaves from the Cannabis Sativa plant.

Most people use marijuana by smoking it in hand-rolled cigarettes called joints, in pipes, water pipes (bongs), or blunts (marijuana rolled in cigar wraps). Marijuana can also be brewed in tea or baked and cooked into food. Since its recreational legalization in several states, which began in 2012, there is a lot of controversy surrounding cannabis. While we’re learning more about cannabis’ effects on the lungs and mind, another question remains: how does marijuana affect the heart?

Can Marijuana Affect Your Heart?

Yes, marijuana can negatively affect your heart. Although many people believe in marijuana’s benefits, time and research have proven otherwise. One particular concern is marijuana and heart disease. Although cannabis is claimed to assist in alleviating anxiety symptoms and other health issues, more and more medical professionals are opposing such claims. Cannabinoid compounds (marijuana) interact with receptors in nerve cells to reduce pain impulses from the body to the brain and ease discomfort. Weed can also induce appetite, which can present other problems. Although there are certain medical uses for marijuana, in which inducing appetite is a plus, for people who use it recreationally, this detail can be a problem.

The “munchies,” or the hunger that many marijuana users feel after smoking or eating weed, can increase your likelihood of eating things that aren’t good for your heart. As a result, existing problems like diabetes can be exacerbated by smoking weed. While this example may seem minor, there are several other ways that marijuana can affect the heart directly and act as a catalyst for cardiovascular disease.

How Marijuana Affects the Heart

One of the few things that scientists have a clear understanding of about marijuana and heart conditions is that people with existing heart diseases who are under stress are more likely to develop chest pain if they’ve been smoking weed than they would have otherwise. This chest pain results from the complex way marijuana affects the heart, including raising your resting heart rate, dilating blood vessels, and making the heart pump harder. It’s also possible that the risk of heart attack increases in the hour after smoking weed to more than it would normally be. While this may not seem like an immediate concern to people without cardiovascular issues, it does wave a red flag for those with a history of heart disease.

Some other marijuana effects on the heart include:

  • Narrow arteries, forcing the heart to pump blood harder
  • Inhibited ability for the heart to contract or pump
  • Worsened heart rhythm (especially in people who already suffer from irregular heart rhythm)
  • Increased blood pressure, which is often an existing problem in people with cardiovascular disease

Marijuana can also negatively affect the lungs, causing problems like airway inflammation, wheezing, and chest tightness, all of which can also affect the heart’s ability to function properly. How marijuana affects the heart also depends on whether you’re taking certain medications. Below are some medications that can cause heart problems when taken with marijuana:

  • Beta-blockers (used to lower heart rate and blood pressure)
  • Statins (used to lower cholesterol levels)
  • Nitrates (used to ease chronic chest pain)
  • Certain blood thinners (used to prevent clotting)
  • Calcium channel blockers (used to make it easier for the heart to pump blood by opening arteries)
  • Immunosuppressants (used to help prevent rejection in people who’ve had a heart transplant)

Heavy or chronic marijuana use can also affect a person’s ability to stay on track with their medications and stick with healthy lifestyle choices, possibly increasing their risk of heart problems. So, is marijuana bad for the heart? Yes, it can be. Although marijuana is used for certain medical purposes, these are extreme cases often connected to cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Any medical use of marijuana is also heavily monitored by doctors to ensure that patients are safe and healthy. Recreational marijuana use or marijuana abuse can be problematic and affect your heart, lungs, and cognitive function.

If you’re a chronic cannabis user, then you may have wondered at one point, “how does marijuana affect the heart?” Overall, marijuana offers no overall benefits for heart health. In fact, marijuana and heart issues are linked, including an increased risk of heart failure or a rhythm disorder called atrial fibrillations, to name a few.

Moreover, other versions of marijuana, such as synthetic marijuana or “Spice,” have also grown in popularity. These drugs are just as harmful, if not worse, and can lead to dependence. Many cannabis users turn to this man-made version of weed out of curiosity. Additionally, weed is believed to be a gateway drug, meaning many who start with recreational marijuana use often turn to more dangerous drugs like LSD to experience a different kind of high. Without the help of PHP treatment, marijuana dependence can become severe.

The cons of marijuana outweigh any pros. Whether it’s marijuana or cocaine use, our drug rehab in Naperville can help you recover. Call Banyan Treatment Centers Chicago today at 888-280-4763 for more information about our drug and alcohol treatment programs.

Related Readings:

  • Dangers of Mixing Ecstasy and Marijuana
  • Difference Between Edibles and Smoking Marijuana
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
How Does Marijuana Affect The Heart?
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