Could Cannabis Help Improve Heart Attack Survival?

Cannabis and heart attack survival
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Marijuana use has been linked with lower short-term risks of death and shock among patients admitted for acute MI (myocardial infarction – heart attack) according to University of Colorado Denver research.

It needs to make really clear from the outset that it’s not being suggested that people should start using cannabis in any particular form – medicinal or otherwise – to fend off the risk of heart attack; as this is very preliminary stuff. It’s also been found the need for mechanical ventilation appears to be greater among cannabis users after a heart attack event.

However, the suggestion of an improved survival rate has certainly piqued the interests of medical researchers according to an article on TCTMD, a comprehensive on-line resource in interventional cardiology.

The study examined administrative hospital records from eight US states where patients had experienced acute MI between 1994 and 2013. Excluding patients 70+ years old and users of cocaine, methamphetamine, or alcohol, there were 3,854 marijuana users and 1,270,043 controls left for the analysis. The researchers note the significant disparity in patient numbers seemed to indicate under-reporting of marijuana use.

One of the researchers said marijuana might provide benefits through direct effects on the endocannabinoid system – particularly CB1 and CB2 receptors, which appear to be involved with the immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory effects of cannabis. However, the improved survival rate could also due to the disease being less severe in patients with reported marijuana use.

Researcher Cecelia Johnson-Sasso stressed the study had a number of limitations – including a deficit of detailed clinical information, long-term follow-up, or how the cannabis was being used.

The researchers will carry out further study and also explore whether marijuana might be causing adverse cardiac events.

“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,” said Jeffrey Kuvin, MD; who was co-chair of an event where the observations were discussed.

On a related note, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure as the old saying goes. Cannabis, or more accurately industrial hemp, may be of assistance there too. In March, we mentioned hemp seed oil could play a role in reducing risk of heart disease and diabetes.