Heart DiseaseMarijuana (Cannabinoids)

Atrial fibrillation in marijuana smokers

“Whenever a young patient without predisposing factors develops AF (atrial fibrillation), the possibility of marijuana smoking should be examined as a potential cause.”

After searching the medical literature, 7 case reports were identified for review.

Here’s what they found.

  • All patients were young (average age: 25 years).
  • AF occurred shortly after marijuana smoking.
  • All episodes were of short duration
  • In 3 of 6 cases, AF converted to a normal rhythm using pharmacological means.
  • All but one patient had palpitations.
  • 2 patients experienced a transient loss of consciousness, while another one fell.
  • No patient had structural heart disease and only one had a precipitating factor (high blood pressure).

The bottom line?
In a young person with an abnormal rhythm that involves the upper chambers of the heart, think marijuana use in the absence of other predisposing factors.

4/1/08 20:34 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.