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Mixed Messages About Cannabis and Heart Disease: The AHA Weighs In

The American Heart Association has taken a stance against smoking and vaping marijuana, which a representative says can cause "potential harm to the heart, lungs and blood vessels." On the other hand, "Oral and topical forms, for which doses can be measured, may reduce some of the potential harms." 

So tinctures, edibles and lotions good; joints, bongs and dabs bad, according to the AHA. They added that CBD does not "appear to cause harm to the heart."

This follows a review of papers and studies in January published by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology concluding that marijuana use can lead to heart attacks.

"Observational data suggest associations between marijuana and a broad range of adverse cardiovascular risks," stated Dr. Muthiah Vaduganathan, the lead author of "Marijuana Use in Patients with Cardiovascular Disease," who works as a cardiologist at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston where his review took place.

He concluded that cannabis, cocaine and a large meal (seperately) can trigger a heart attack, and that heart rate and blood pressure rise when you smoke pot. 

Dr. Mary Clifton: "Cannabis is safe and protective against heart attacks and other forms of heart disease."

"National survey data estimate that two million Americans with established cardiovascular diseases currently use or have used marijuana in its variety of forms, including inhalation and vaping." the review noted. "Marijuana is becoming increasingly potent, and smoking marijuana carries many of the same cardiovascular health hazards as smoking tobacco."

New York-baseed cannabis and CBD expert Dr. Mary Clifton thinks otherwise. "Cannabis is safe and protective against heart attacks and other forms of heart disease," she tells CelebStoner. "People who regularly use cannabis have healthier metabolisms than people who don't. If you're looking to improve your waistline, control your cholesterol and reduce your insulin resistance or markers of inflammation, you've found what you're looking for."

However, Clifton says recent heart attack victims should refrain from lighting up. "It seems reasonable to exercise caution here." she says. "Transient elevations in heart rate and blood pressure modifications could put an at-risk person at higher-acute risk after canabis ingestion."

One recent study the authors of the review and the AHA apparently ignored claims that people who use cannabis and suffer heart attacks are more likely to survive an attack than those who don't. "I was very surprised that it was actually a reduced association I found," said the study's lead author Dr. Oluwole Adegbala, a medical resident at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center in New Jersey.

So, then, it appears the jury is still out on cannabis and cardiovascular disease.

This article was posted on January 22 and updated on August 5.

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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.