By L.A. Williams
Christian Action League
November 3, 2022
Yet another study has shown that marijuana is harmful to the body. This one, reported in Medical News Today, links cannabis use to a 35 percent increase in a person’s chances of developing atrial fibrillation.
Defined by the Mayo Clinic as an “irregular and often very rapid heart rhythm that can lead to blood clots in the heart,” A-fib increases the risk of stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications. It affects more than 2.7 million Americans, according to the American Heart Association, and is associated with substantial morbidity and increased risk of death, not to mention that it costs the nation some $26 billion each year in healthcare expenses.
Understandably, efforts are being made to determine what risk factors contribute to A-fib and how they could be mitigated. To that end, Dr. Gregory Marcus, professor of medicine at the University of California San Francisco, and other researchers examined the medical records of more than 23 million adult Californians who received care in an emergency department, outpatient surgery facility, or hospital between Jan. 1, 2005 and Dec. 31, 2015, checking to see how many of those who used methamphetamines, cocaine, opiates or cannabis developed A-fib. Methamphetamine use was linked with the greatest risk (an increase of 86 percent) with opiate use increasing risk by 74 percent; cocaine by 61 percent; and cannabis by 35 percent.
“Although it may appear to be the least of the evils when examined alongside meth, opiates and cocaine, the fact that cannabis increases A-fib risks by more than a third is a clear indicator that no matter how it’s promoted as such, marijuana is not in any way shape or form medicine,” says the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “Study after study shows it does more harm than good.”
Publishing their results in Oxford Academics’ European Heart Journal, authors of the study say that their work offers “additional clarity to the potential long-term health consequences” of the increasingly common exposure to marijuana, especially in light of the broadening legalization of the drug.
Cardiologist Rigved Tadwalker from Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, who was not involved in the study, told the media that the increased risk for AFib with cannabis use presents a significant public health issue.
“Any time there’s something out there that people enjoy, and then you sort of add the legal aspect, you sort of think that there’s a green light,” Dr. Tadwalkar said. “But those public health considerations have not been looked at in total, and I think that’s really the crux of the issue.”
Earlier this year Dr. Uma Srivatsa, clinical professor of medicine at UC Davis Health told WebMD that marijuana can activate a user’s “fight or flight,” stress response, worsening a racing heartbeat.
“In fact, marijuana can raise your heart rate for up to three hours after you use it. It also makes stroke and heart disease more likely. That’s significant because if you have A-fib, your chance of a stroke is already five times higher than someone who doesn’t have it,” WebMD reported.
Marijuana also relaxes blood vessels, which lowers blood pressure, which Srivatsa says can then kick off a racing response from your heart rate.
Olujimi A. Ajijola, a cardiologist at UCLA Health in Los Angeles, has made it clear that the overwhelming effect of marijuana on a person’s heart is harmful.
“We advise against it from a cardiovascular standpoint, in general,” he told WebMD.