A new study says cannabis consumers are more likely to experience heartbreak – medically speaking.
Researchers from St. Luke’s University Health Network have found that marijuana users are almost twice as likely to suffer from stress cardiomyopathy or “Broken Heart Syndrome”, a rare syndrome that mimics heart attack symptoms.
The condition is characterized by a sudden, usually temporary weakening of the heart muscle. It reduces the heart’s ability to pump blood, which can result in chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness and sometimes fainting.
The researchers looked at data from 33,343 Americans who were hospitalized for stress cardiomyopathy between 2003 and 2011. After identifying those who actively used cannabis and considering a number of risk factors, the researchers concluded that cannabis consumers are nearly twice as likely to develop stress cardiomyopathy than non-users.
The study also found that cannabis consumers are considerably more likely to go into cardiac arrest (2.4 percent vs. 0.8 percent) during stress cardiomyopathy than non-consumers. Consumers are also more likely to require correction to abnormal heart rhythms.
“The effects of marijuana, especially on the cardiovascular system, are not well known yet,” said Dr. Amitoj Singh, study co-author and chief cardiology fellow at St Luke’s University Health Network in Pennsylvania, of the research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2016.
“With its increasing availability and legalization in some states, people need to know that marijuana may be harmful to the heart and blood vessels in some people.”
Singh said cannabis consumers who experience symptoms like chest pain and shortness of breath should seek medical attention.