Heart DiseaseMarijuana (Cannabinoids)

Hazards of marijuana in heart attack survivors

OK, you survived your first heart attack.

Smoke pot and you’ll lower your chances of surviving the second “big one.”

First, the details.

  • 1913 adults hospitalized with a heart attack at 45 US hospitals between 1989 and 1994 were monitored over about 4 years.
  • Total death rate during that time was compared to self-reported marijuana use in the preceding year.

And, the results.

  • 52 patients reported marijuana use during the prior year, and 317 patients died during follow-up.
  • Following their first heart attack, marijuana users had a three-fold higher risk of death due to heart disease, as well as non-heart-related causes of death after the attack.
  • The risk was greater for those who smoked more frequently.

The bottom line?
This is a preliminary study in a small group of patients. It was reported as an abstract (not a full article) in the American Heart Journal.

However, the authors concluded, “This provides a hint that there is a true cardiovascular effect of marijuana.”

And the effect is not good.

3/8/08 10:40 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.