Marijuana Policy Project

Mixed Messages About Cannabis and Heart Disease

A review of papers and studies published by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology poses that marijuana use can lead to heart attacks.

"Observational data suggest associations between marijuana and a broad range of adverse cardiovascular risks," the review states. 

"Marijuana Use in Patients with Cardiovascular Disease" is the JACC Review Topic of the Week. Lead author Dr. Muthiah Vaduganathan works as a cardiologist at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

It concludes that cannabis, cocaine and a large meal (seperately) can trigger a heart attack. 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 explains. "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 agrees it's not wise for recent heart attack victims to light 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 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," says 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.

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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.