The growing popularity of the medicinal and recreational use of cannabis, especially among young people, raises immediate concerns regarding its safety and its long-term effects. The cardiovascular effects of cannabis are not well understood. Cannabis use has been shown to cause arrhythmias, including ventricular tachycardia and, potentially, sudden death, and increases the risk of myocardial infarction (MI). These effects seem to be aggravated by smoking and precipitated by excessive physical activity, especially during the first few hours of consumption.
Cannabinoids, or the active compounds in cannabis, have been shown to have heterogeneous effects on central and peripheral circulation. Acute cannabis use has been shown to cause an increase in blood pressure, specifically systolic blood pressure (SBP) and orthostatic hypotension. Cannabis use has been reported to increase the risk of ischemic stroke, especially in young, healthy patients. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is currently considered to be a promising therapeutic target in the treatment of several diseases.
Synthetic cannabinoids (SC) are increasingly being investigated for their therapeutic effects; however, the value of their benefits over potential complications remains controversial. Despite considerable research in this field, the benefits of cannabis and its synthetic derivatives remain questionable, even in the face of an increasingly tolerant attitude towards recreational use and the promotion of therapeutic complications. More efforts are needed to increase public awareness, especially among young people, about the cardiovascular risks associated with cannabis use and to disseminate accumulated knowledge about its harmful effects. In some cases, long-term use of cannabis can cause a disorder called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome.
Its symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and colic-like abdominal pain, which can be relieved temporarily by taking hot showers or permanently if you stop using cannabis. Abrupt cessation of cannabis use can cause withdrawal effects and you should talk to your healthcare team about the best method to stop using cannabis. A recently published study in mice in which three THC administration regimens were tested suggests that prior treatment with an ultra-low dose of THC provides significant protection against ischemic heart injury, as demonstrated by lower troponin levels and the reduction in the size of the infarct (10).