Don’t Go Breaking My Heart
Does cannabis use damage cardiac function?
Jonathan James | | Quick Read
Concerned by the dearth of information available on how cannabis affects cardiovascular function, researchers at Queen Mary University of London reviewed cardiac MRIs from thousands of UK patients, to look for differences between the hearts of cannabis users and non-users (1).
They retrospectively evaluated scans from 3,407 participants in the UK Biobank population study. Of these, 3,255 reported rarely or never using cannabis, 105 reported previous weekly or daily use, and 47 reported ongoing weekly or daily cannabis use.
The researchers found that current users were more likely to have enlarged left ventricles (the main pumping chamber of the heart) and early signs of impaired heart function – even after accounting for factors such as age and cigarette smoking. They conclude that further research is required to understand the long-term implications of cannabis use on the cardiovascular system.
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- MY Khanji et al., JACC Cardiovasc Imaging, 19, 31009 (2019).