Cannabis users more prone to rare broken heart syndrome—study
Smoking cannabis has been known to treat certain forms of cancer, but a recent study has found a link between use of the controversial herb and a heart-weakening condition.
Stress cardiomyopathy, popularly known as broken heart syndrome, shows symptoms eerily similar to a heart attack, including chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness and fainting.
The effects of the rare illness, which is often caused by the heart’s inability to pump blood, are usually short-lived but could indicate a more serious condition, according to a report by The Telegraph.
Dr. Amitoj Singh, of St. Luke’s University in Pennsylvania, USA, claimed that “the effects of marijuana, especially on the cardiovascular system, are not well known yet,” and could very well put users at high-risk of developing heart-related conditions.
“With its increasing availability and legalisation in some states, people need to know that marijuana may be harmful to the heart and blood vessels in some people,” he was quoted as saying in the report.
According to his research, cannabis users who had an episode of stress cardiomyopathy were significantly more likely to go into cardiac arrest or need correction to abnormal heart rhythms than non-users.
Collated data from 33,343 Americans who were hospitalized with stress cardiomyopathy between 2003 and 2011 showed that marijuana users were almost twice as likely to develop the disease than non-users.
Active marijuana usage were reportedly identified from either information provided by the patient or through a urine test.
“If you are using marijuana and develop symptoms such as chest pain and shortness of breath, you should be evaluated by a healthcare provider to make sure you aren’t having stress cardiomyopathy or another heart problem,” Dr Singh said.
His research, presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions meeting in New Orleans last week, revealed that users were also more likely have a history of depression, psychosis, anxiety disorder, alcoholism and multiple substance abuse. Khristian Ibarrola