According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease (CVD) claims more lives each year than all forms of cancer. In 2016 alone, CVDs were responsible for every one out of three deaths in the United States.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) believes that cardiovascular ailments such as stroke and heart attack are now the leading cause of death in America. With almost 50% of the population affected by CVDs, it’s on the forefront of many researchers’ minds to try and understand the complex issue and what other ailments, medicines and activities may help or hurt the heart.
New research details the need for candid conversations
With the ever-growing rise of marijuana legalization, researchers recently unveiled a study to determine if marijuana’s growth and use had any impact on America’s serious CVD issue. Recognizing an opportunity for wider dialog around patients’ marijuana use, the Journal of the American College of Cardiology recently published a study by four major health institutions, Columbia University Irving Medical Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Sarver Heart Center, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital Heart & Vascular Center and Harvard Medical School.
Researchers looked at an association of those who have used marijuana against those with cardiovascular diseases. Estimating that over 2 million Americans have used marijuana and that heart disease is still on the rise, the team determined that better screening should be in place to identify key risk factors as some studies showed marijuana could have adverse effects on heart health.
While not a gigantic leap in research, the study is hoping to bring to light the importance of better conversations around marijuana use in a clinical setting, which is a vital element in a good care plan. Candid conversations around lifestyle habits like cannabis can help doctors and nurses offer more personalized care to keep medicines from interacting with one another offering more safety to patients through better communication.
Does marijuana hurt the heart?
With very little research being done around marijuana’s effects on cardiovascular health, doctors have little information to go on when asked about marijuana’s effects from patients. While cannabis can raise the heart rate and make the heart pump faster temporarily, there’s no studies that show long-term effects, positive or negative. Some studies have cited a risk of stroke for those with CVDs immediately after using marijuana, while other studies claim CBD can reduce blood pressure.
While research is inconclusive to heart health, marijuana, and CBD oil, one thing is certain: Better communication between doctors and patients can lead to stronger trust and relationships which can better health outcomes for all.