There's a conflicting information about how cannabis use affects heart health: some studies have suggested cannabinoids could prevent hypertension, stroke, atherosclerosis and heart attacks, while others insist smoking marijuana will speed your path to double bypass.
According to data presented at the 2016 meeting of the American College of Cardiology, heart attack patients with a history of cannabis use are less likely to die during hospitalization - suggesting a link between a history of marijuana use and the short-term prognosis, at least, for patients with heart problems.
The University of Colorado study compared the hospital records of over 3,800 cannabis-using heart-attack patients to those of over 1.2 million non-users.
Patients who used cannabis were at a lower risk of dying during hospitalization - although the reasons for this are unclear, according to presenter Cecelia Johnson-Sasso.
"We don't really know what it does. It's our responsibility as clinicians and scientists to figure out what it does, so we can protect the population from possible adverse effects or know how to treat [patients] appropriately if they come in on this substance," said Johnson-Sasso,
Researchers turn attention toward marijuana and heart health
While it's possible that marijuana provides heart health benefits through direct effects on the endocannabinoid system, it's also possible that the disease was less severe in the first place for the patients with reported marijuana use.
As in most questions related to cannabis and health, according to Dr Jeffrey Kuvin of Tufts Medical Center, more research is needed.
"As clinicians and cardiologists need to understand the effects of marijuana better on the cardiovascular system," Kuvin told TCTMD. "I think from a pharmacologic standpoint we know that marijuana does have uses in medicine and there may be something good that comes out of this," he said.