Cannabis, tachycardia and aneurysma

Posted by in Adverse effects, Doctor X files

 

Marijuana is sort of famous for increasing heart rate – some websites talk about it effecting an increase of 40 bpm, while others mention an increase of 50% over resting heart rate. Personally, my heart rate goes from a resting rate of 70 bpm, to about 120 bpm (as if I’m jogging), and I have measured it to go as fast as 156 bpm, which is about 80% the maximum heart rate for my age group. This >120 bpm heart rate can persist for an hour, sometimes two. Of course, if I were running a marathon, this would be considered normal and safe, but all of this is when I am at rest and not exerting myself at all. Is such an elevated heart rate for such a long time dangerous to the body when it’s not accompanied/caused by physical activity? Would this become risky as I age and the heart and blood vessels deteriorate, and maximum heart rate lowers to 130? Finally, I read that smoking tobacco products increases risk of abdominal anyeurism at later ages (60+) – does smoking marijuana increase the chance of anyeurism (abdominal or otherwise) like tobacco?

 

Cannabis increases heart rate by a different mechanism than stimulants. The main effect is relaxation of veins and arteries. This effect lowers blood pressure. To compensate this and mantaining blood flow heart beats more quickly. As a general idea this is less risky than cardiovascular effect of stimulants. There are some cases of cardiovascular damage induced by cannabis, but are anecdotal and uncommon. The main risk is fainting if you get up quickly or make exercise. So if you feel dizzy, lie down to avoid hurting if you fall as a result of loss of consciousness

The increase you report is important and long-lasting. Probably it is constitutional (I mean, you are particularly susceptible to that effect) or related with cannabis potency (you should try another variety or use less quantity). It is theoretically possible that cannabis use could trigger an asymptomatic arrhitmia and maybe it should be interesting to have an electrocardiography test to rule out this possibility. There is no evidence that cannabis increases risk of aneurysm In aged persons who are regular users of cannabis, in general this effect diminishes on time, as adaptative mechanisms of body change.

There are no data about cannabis and aneurysms. Studies are difficult because most smokers of cannabis are also smokers of tobacco and results are difficult to interpret. In my opinion and according to mechanisms of action of cannabis, the causal relation is unlikely. In any case, your cardiovascular changes seem significant, so maybe it should be important to consult with a real doctor in the real world.

Pin It on Pinterest