Medical marijuana is used to treat a variety of issues, from chronic pain and migraines to severe nausea and seizures. But can it help save your. More than half of the states in the United States have approved medical marijuana programs. Although the cannabis plant has been used for. What the legal use of marijuana could mean for your heart, whether you've are widely published experts in the prevention of heart disease. of Medicine summarized what is known about the effects of marijuana on said Dr. Reid, whereas the risk in young women is not increased to the same degree.
Heart Your and Cannabis, Attacks Gender Medical
Yet marijuana smoke contains many of the same toxins, irritants, and carcinogens found in cigarette smoke — a known contributor to heart disease as well as cancer. Marijuana cultivation and use dates back some 6, years. However, the cardiovascular and other health effects of cannabis aren't well studied. That's partly because under federal law, cannabis is a Schedule I substance, meaning it has "no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.
This holds equally true for the risks as well as the benefits," says Dr. Some of the strongest evidence supporting the medical use of marijuana is for managing chronic pain. Cannabinoid compounds see "Cannabis " interact with receptors in nerve cells to slow down pain impulses and ease discomfort.
Cannabinoids also have been shown to be effective in quelling nausea and vomiting. In addition, marijuana is a powerful appetite inducer. The combination of these attributes makes marijuana a therapeutic option for people coping with the side effects of chemotherapy and others who are in danger of unintended weight loss.
However, in conditions where gaining extra weight might exacerbate existing health problems, such as diabetes, appetite stimulation would be counterproductive. One of the few things scientists know for sure about marijuana and cardiovascular health is that people with established heart disease who are under stress develop chest pain more quickly if they have been smoking marijuana than they would have otherwise.
This is because of complex effects cannabinoids have on the cardiovascular system, including raising resting heart rate, dilating blood vessels, and making the heart pump harder. Research suggests that the risk of heart attack is several times higher in the hour after smoking marijuana than it would be normally. While this does not pose a significant threat to people who have minimal cardiovascular risk, it should be a red flag for anyone with a history of heart disease.
Although the evidence is weaker, there are also links to a higher risk of atrial fibrillation or ischemic stroke immediately following marijuana use. Consistent with these links, studies by Dr.
This is, in part, because men had heart attacks during their working years, potentially limiting their economic productivity. There was also a fear of involving pregnant women in research, which led to all women of child-bearing age being restricted from participating in most research in the U.
As a result, people both within and outside the medical profession had the impression that heart disease is for men. One of the key arteries of the heart in which a blockage may lead to early death.
The second reason for our general lack of understanding of heart disease in women is due to differences in biology. As women get heart disease later in life than men, they also have more age-related risk factors than men — such as diabetes, which makes treatment more complex. Women with diabetes have a 44 per cent greater risk for heart disease than men. In addition, gestational diabetes which occurs during pregnancy and impacts approximately 5.
Early age of puberty and menopause have also been associated with greater heart disease risk. And differences extend to anatomy. Given their smaller body size, women tend to have smaller hearts and arteries than men.
This has been associated with higher mortality during bypass surgery. Smaller arteries also make diagnostic techniques like the electrocardiogram ECG and coronary angiography X-ray imaging of heart arteries more challenging. One of the more perplexing facts about heart disease in women is that a heart attack can occur even without any heart arteries being blocked.
While women having a heart attack can feel severe pain in their chest, many also experience more subtle symptoms such as shortness of breath, discomfort in their arms, neck and jaw, sweating or nausea. Yet they are normal for women. A review of studies from nine countries found that women are also less likely to be referred to, and attend, cardiac rehabilitation programs.
And recent research from Sweden shows that failure to adhere to treatment guidelines results in greater premature death for women within five years after a heart attack compared to men. This confirms earlier findings in many other countries as well.
While there is much work to be done, each year this gap in knowledge and treatment closes in North America thanks in part to Health Canada and the US Food and Drug Administration implementing guidelines to ensure the inclusion of women in research. Continued advocacy by the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the American Heart Association is also important for increasing awareness both within and outside of the health care systems. Additionally, more research in tailoring treatments to women, like female-only cardiac rehabilitation , will help in the design and application of treatments.
As individuals, the capacity to recognize and understand the signs and symptoms of heart disease could be life-saving — for our loved ones, friends, bystanders and even ourselves.
Scott Lear writes the weekly blog Feel Healthy with Dr. The poetics of retreat: Meditation and space at the shrine in Mahan — York, York. Films in translation — voices for all:
Study: Marijuana use increases risks of stroke, heart failure
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