Does marijuana weaken heart muscles?
(CNN) Just last week, five more states voted to legalize recreational marijuana, but users may want to be cautious. A study released Sunday suggests that marijuana use can weaken heart muscles, particularly in young men. The study was presented at the annual scientific conference of the American Heart Association in New Orleans.
Recognizing the possible adverse health effects of smoking pot to get high, the researchers examined the link between marijuana use and heart health.
Marijuana users vs. non-users
The researchers, from St. Luke’s University Hospital Network, focused on patients with stress cardiomyopathy, a sudden temporary weakening of the heart muscle that prevents it from pumping. Patients with the condition, which has been said to mimic a heart attack, can experience acute chest pain, shortness of breath and dizziness.
The muscle weakness is most often caused by acute stress or grief, such as a breakup or the death of a loved one. However, according to Dr. Amitoj Singh, the lead investigator of the study, at least two cases of stress cardiomyopathy in medical literature have been related to marijuana use.
“There have been many reports of heart attacks, strokes and the two cases of (stress cardiomyopathy) that have been linked to marijuana,” Singh said.
Greater availability of marijuana, particularly for recreational use, has heightened concern in the medical community about cardiac risks, sparking Singh’s interest.