Marijuana: Adverse Effects on Vascular System – Heart Attacks, Strokes, TIA’s, Peripheral Vascular Effects


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Studies were recently published on the lifesaving value of cannabis, marijuana. For many intractable conditions, it may be all that works.

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Yet cannabis, if it is mentioned at all in medical conferences, is treated like a novelty by physician lecturers who may retell its colorful history while largely ignoring its serious potential for harm as well as its remarkable potential for relief so little known to doctors in the Western world.

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Of foremost concern is the vascular system where we do not yet know the function of cannabinoid receptors. For example, in a search a few years ago, I found the youngest person who died after use of cannabis was a healthy 17 year old boy.

 

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Fortunately, this recent publication is available as a PDF:

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Adverse Cardiovascular, Cerebrovascular, and Peripheral Vascular Effects of Marijuana Inhalation: What Cardiologists Need to Know (pdf)

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by Grace Thomas, MD, Robert A. Kloner, MD, and Shereif Rezkalla, MD

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Published by the American Journal of Cardiology 2014 by cardiologists from Marshfield Clinic Wisconsin, Good Samaritan Hospital and University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

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“Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug, with approximately 200 million users worldwide…. Temporal associations between marijuana use and serious adverse events, including myocardial infarction, sudden cardiac death, cardiomyopathy, stroke, transient ischemic attack, and cannabis arteritis have been described. In conclusion, the potential for increased use of marijuana in the changing legal landscape suggests the need for the community to intensify research regarding the safety of marijuana use and for cardiologists to maintain an awareness of the potential for adverse effects.”

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Am J Cardiol 2014;113:187e190

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More research is needed.

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We have more cannabinoid receptors in our body than any other type. The plant has 400 chemicals, of which there are 86 known cannabinoids such as THC and CBD, and there are 100 or 200 terpenes that have medicinal value. It can be inhaled (smoked or vaporized), swallowed or used topically. Mechanism of action primarily involves the immune system – one of the endogenous cannabinoids in the brain is made and reabsorbed by the microglia that is the mast cell of the brain. But we don’t have a clue what all those cannabinoid receptors are doing in bone.

 

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