New Research Suggests Cannabis Could Help Heart Failure Patients

Photo Credit: Merry Jane

Photo Credit: Merry Jane

New research led by Dr. Oluwole Adegbala, a medical resident from the Englewood Hospital and Medical Center in New Jersey, suggests cannabis users are less likely to experience atrial fibrillation (A-fib) than non-users. A-fib is an irregularity of the heartbeat that can exacerbate the problems associated with heart failure. The study looked at a database with over 6 million patients suffering from heart failure who were hospitalized sometime between 2007 and 2014. Of those patients, 23,000 reported cannabis use without issues of dependency, while 1,200 cannabis users were considered dependent. The data was adjusted for external factors like age, socioeconomic status, and drug use. The non-dependent cannabis users were 18% less likely than non-users to experience A-fib, and 46% less likely to die in the hospital. Dependent users were 31% less likely to develop A-fib, and 58% less likely to pass away in the hospital. The team calls for further research before recommending cannabis treatment for patients with heart failure.

This information has been provided by Merry Jane and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

Marijuana Use Linked to Lower Risk of Heart Failure, Cardiac Disease, and In-Hospital Mortality, Study Finds

Photo Credit: Medical Marijuana Inc.

Photo Credit: Medical Marijuana Inc.

A multivariable adjusted study published by Cancer Medicine suggests hospitalized patients who test positive for marijuana have a lower risk of heart failure, cardiac disease, or in-hospitality mortality. Researchers from the University of Northern Colorado, Colorado State University, and the University of Alabama analyzed the relationship between cannabis use and health outcomes in a nationwide sample involving 3.9 million patients over the course of 4 years. Of the patients examined, 387,608 were marijuana users. They found patients who tested positive for marijuana were at lower risk of heart failure and cardiac disease, and while they also were at higher risk of experiencing a stroke, they were more likely to survive that event. 

Researchers wrote, “The odds of in-hospital mortality were significantly reduced among marijuana users compared with non-users overall, and among cancer patients.” They concluded that more research is necessary, but that these results are especially positive for certain populations. Researcher wrote, “Larger prospective studies with objective measures of marijuana use and health outcomes will be needed to better examine these associations. Nevertheless, these findings provide information suggesting that marijuana use is negatively associated with certain health outcomes that may be important for older, sicker population groups.”

This information has been brought to you by Medical Marijuana Inc. and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. You can also read text from the study here

Medical Marijuana: What the Research Shows. Part 1

Photo Credit:  REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/Files ( https://www.flickr.com/photos/117032936@N08/14634860422)

Photo Credit: REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/Files (https://www.flickr.com/photos/117032936@N08/14634860422)

Twenty years ago, scientists discovered the endocannabinoid system, a system in the brain that responds to 60 chemicals found in marijuana. Since then, research has shown the endocannabinoid system plays a major role in various bodily functions, like those of the heart, and the endocrine, digestive, immune, nervous, and reproductive systems. Because of this, marijuana's ability to interact with the endocannabinoid system makes it a viable player in relieving various symptoms, like managing pain, reducing muscle spasms from MS, stimulating appetite, and even acting as a substitute for medications that treat brain disorders like schizophrenia or Tourette's syndrome. While there are various studies to back up these claims, it is important to note that many of the clinical trials were conducted at relatively small scales and weren't double-blinded placebo controlled studies, leaving more extensive research to be desired.

As supporting evidence showing cannabis does in fact contain therapeutic cannabinoids, there are three marijuana-based drugs that have been approved by the FDA. Marinol and Cesamet are two marijuana based pharmaceuticals that treat the nausea and loss of appetite associated with chemotherapy and related to AIDs patients. Both drugs use man-made THC as a major component. Epidiolex was approved by the FDA in 2013, and while it's use is highly restricted, it is used to combat childhood epilepsy. Another cannabis-based drug is Sativex. It is currently undergoing clinical trials in the U.S. for the treatment of pain associated with breast cancer, but it has already been approved in over 20 countries for the treatment of muscle spasms in MS patients and cancer related pain.

This post is part of a two part series, and the information has been provided by Web MD and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.