Tuesday January 21, 2020

Edible Marijuana May Affect Heart Health in Elderly, Says Study

A number of prior case reports, as well as epidemiological studies, have described the association between cannabis use and acute cardiovascular adverse events, including myocardial infarction, stroke, arrhythmias and sudden death

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Israel, Marijauna
An Israeli woman works at Tikkun Olam medical cannabis farm, near the northern Israeli city of Safed, Israel, Nov. 1, 2012. Late Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2018, Israel's parliament unanimously approved a law to permit exports of medical marijuana. VOA

With marijuana legalisation sweeping the US, an increasing number of people believe that “weed” is the safest recreational drug, and carries health benefits that outweigh its risks.

However, according to a new study, each marijuana formulation may affect and sometimes even compromise the cardiovascular system in older adults.

“Marijuana can be a useful tool for many patients, especially for pain and nausea relief. At the same time, like all other medications, it does carry risks and side effects,” said Alexandra Saunders from the Dalhousie University in Canada.

Cannabis flower (marijuana).

The study, published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, examined the case of a patient who developed crushing chest pain and myocardial ischemia after consuming most of a marijuana lollipop.

The “inappropriate dosing and oral consumption of marijuana resulted in distress that caused a cardiac event and subsequent reduced cardiac function,” Saunders said.

The report describes a 70-year-old man with stable coronary artery disease, taking the appropriate cardiac medications, who ate most of a lollipop that was infused with 90 mg of THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) to relieve pain and aid sleep. The lollipop caused him to have a potentially serious heart attack.

According to the report, he consumed a much larger dose than the 7 mg that is typically ingested by smoking a single joint or taking the 2.5 mg starting dose of a synthetic THC.

Marijuana, Canada, israel
In this July 12, 2018 file photo, a newly-transplanted cannabis cuttings grow in pots at a medical marijuana cultivation facility in Massachusetts. (VOA)

The patient’s ingestion of an unusually large amount of THC caused the unexpected strain on his body from anxiety and fearful hallucinations and likely triggered the cardiac event, the researchers said.

A number of prior case reports, as well as epidemiological studies, have described the association between cannabis use and acute cardiovascular adverse events, including myocardial infarction, stroke, arrhythmias and sudden death.

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While previous research on marijuana-induced myocardial ischemia has mostly focused on younger patients, healthcare providers need to understand and manage cannabis use and its complications in older patients, particularly in those with cardiovascular disease, the researchers noted. (IANS)

Next Story

Here’s How Marijuana can Have an Impact on Your Driving Ability

Marijuana may affect driving ability for 12 hours after use

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Marijuana
Marijuana use may have an impact on driving ability even 12 hours after use. Pixabay

Researchers have found that marijuana use may have an impact on driving ability even 12 hours after use.

The study, published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, found that in addition to chronic, heavy, recreational cannabis use being associated with poorer driving performance in non-intoxicated individuals compared to non-users.

While several studies have examined the direct effect of cannabis intoxication on driving, no other studies until now have examined the effects on driving in heavy marijuana users who are not high.

“People who use cannabis don’t necessarily assume that they may drive differently, even when they’re not high,” said study researcher Staci Gruber from McLean Hospital in the US.

“We’re not suggesting that everyone who uses cannabis will demonstrate impaired driving, but it’s interesting that in a sample of non-intoxicated participants, there are still differences in those who use cannabis relative to those who don’t,” Gruber added.

Marijuana
While several studies have examined the direct effect of cannabis intoxication on driving, no other studies until now have examined the effects on driving in heavy marijuana users who are not high. Pixabay

For the findings, the research team used a customised driving simulator to assess the potential impact of cannabis use on driving performance.

At the time of study, marijuana users had not used for at least 12 hours and were not intoxicated.

Overall, heavy marijuana users demonstrated poorer driving performance as compared to non-users.

For example, in the simulated driving exercise, marijuana users hit more pedestrians, exceeded the speed limit more often, made fewer stops at red lights, and made more center line crossings.

When researchers divided the marijuana users into groups based on when they started using cannabis, they found that significant driving impairment was detected and completely localized to those who began using marijuana regularly before age 16.

“It didn’t surprise us that performance differences on the driving simulator were primarily seen in the early onset group,” said study researcher Mary Kathryn Dahlgren.

According to the authors, research has consistently shown that early substance use, including the use of cannabis, is associated with poorer cognitive performance.

“What was interesting was when we examined impulsivity in our analyses, most of the differences we saw between cannabis users and healthy controls went away, suggesting that impulsivity may play a role in performance differences,” Dahlgre added.

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“There’s been a lot of interest in how we can more readily and accurately identify cannabis intoxication at the roadside, but the truth of the matter is that it is critical to assess impairment, regardless of the source or cause,” she said. o

“It’s important to be mindful that whether someone is acutely intoxicated, or a heavy recreational cannabis user who’s not intoxicated, there may be an impact on driving,” she added. (IANS)