How to think about cannabis and cardiac health

Published on March 22, 2023
heart made of ground cannabis flower against a white background
The main active ingredient in cannabis, THC, causes a temporary increase in heart rate. (Mark/Adobe Stock)

On Feb. 24, publicists at Stanford University issued a press release that researchers had found an association between daily cannabis use and a 34% increase in coronary artery disease. Is that true? And what’s cannabis’ heart risk relative to other lifestyle choices, medications, or, strenuous activity like shoveling snow?

Listen along as Leafly Director of Science and Innovation, Nick Jikomes PhD, explains how the study has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal, and arrives amid mixed data on the topic. Learn about the pernicious cycle of science reporting by press release. And understand the other heart studies and background information on cannabis and the heart.

Click the below play bar to listen along.

Top consumer tips:

  • wait for the full peer-reviewed study
  • compare how the findings stacks up against other studies
  • an association does not equal causation
  • pay attention to modality (smoking versus vaping, edibles)
  • pay attention to dose (high doses can affect your body differently than low doses). “Dose matters, so start low and go slow,” said Jikomes.
  • ask your doctor about any recreational activity or medication, if you have heart issues
  • and consider a flower vaporizer. Flower vaping with the PAX or Volcano produces far, far less toxic byproducts of combustion than smoking. “You’re not going to get a lot of that nasty stuff that combines with lighting plant matter on fire,” said Jikomes.

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Leafly Staff
Leafly Staff
Leafly is the world’s largest cannabis information resource, empowering people in legal cannabis markets to learn about the right products for their lifestyle and wellness needs. Our team of cannabis professionals collectively share years of experience in all corners of the market, from growing and retail, to science and medicine, to data and technology.
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