Marijuana Edibles Can Pose Dangers to Those With Heart Conditions

If you have cardiovascular disease or a heart condition, you might want to lay off eating marijuana edibles as they may cause a heart attack.

That’s a warning from researchers, based on the case of a 70-year-old man with stable heart disease who ate a lollipop with THC, one of the main compounds found in marijuana, because he thought it would help with pain and sleep problems. The lollipop contained 90 mg of THC. For comparison, a typical marijuana joint has around 7 mg, and Marinol (dronabinol), a synthetic form of THC used to ease nausea and stimulate appetite in cancer and AIDS patients, has a starting dose of 2.5 mg.

The man experienced severe hallucinations and anxiety, leading him to experience a heart attack, the researchers reported in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology. After the hallucinogenic effects of the THC wore off, the chest pain stopped.

The researchers noted there have been other case reports linking cannabis and cardiovascular events, including stroke, abnormal heartbeat and even sudden death.

“Most previous research on marijuana-induced myocardial ischemia focused mostly on younger patients and did not focus on its different formulations and potencies,” lead author and cardiologist Robert S. Stevenson, MD, of Horizon Health Network, Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, said in a statement. “As a result of widespread marijuana legalization, healthcare providers need to understand and manage cannabis use and its complications in older patients, particularly in those with cardiovascular disease.”


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Jill U. Adams

Albany, NY-based Jill U Adams writes about science, health and nature and the intersection of research and policy for publications such as Audubon, Discover, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post and Science.


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