70-year-old man suffers heart attack after consuming cannabis lollipop

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A 70-year-old New Brunswick man suffered a heart attack and experts are saying it’s because of cannabis lollipop.

The Canadian Journal of Cardiology published a report on Monday detailing the case and how this lollipop may have led to the man’s heart attack. The gentleman was reportedly looking for something to alleviate his arthritis paid and tried the cannabis lollipop.

The lollipop contained 90 mg of THC. To put into perspective, an average joint typically contains around seven mg.

Dalhousie University cardiologist Dr. Alexandra Saunders spoke to sources about the incident.  

“Marijuana can be a useful tool for many patients, especially for pain and nausea relief. At the same time, like all other mediations, it does carry risk and side effects,” she said.

“In a recent case, inappropriate dosing and oral consumption of marijuana by an older patient with stable cardiovascular disease result in distress that caused a cardiac event and subsequent reduced cardiac function.”

Saunders said that the man ingested at least 70 mg of the 90 mg contained in the lollipop.

“Within 30 minute the patient described fearful hallucinations, during which he called a family because he ‘felt like he was dying.’”

The man was rushed to the emergency department at St. John Regional Hospital where he told medical professionals that he did have experience smoking cannabis when he was younger. He hadn’t consumed cannabis in a long time and was unaware of the time-delay and extended effects of THC dosing.

“The patient’s cardiac event was likely triggered by unexpected strain on his body form anxiety and fearful hallucinations caused by the unusually large amount of THC he ingested,” said Saunders. She added that the patient’s chest pain stopped once the effects of the cannabis worse off and the hallucinations ended.

This is not the first time that cannabis has been linked to heart attacks. Previous cases and studies have connected strokes, heath attacks and abnormal heart rhythms to cannabis consumption.

Dr. Robert Stevenson of the department of cardiology at the Canadian government’s Horizon Health Network in Saint John said however that most of the previous research on this topic is focused on younger patients and has never focused on potencies or various formulations.

“As a result of widespread marijuana legalization, healthcare providers need to understand and manager cannabis use and its complications in older patients, particularly those with cardiovascular disease,” he said.  

Saunders also says that “more care, education and research is needed about how each marijuana formulation may affect and sometimes compromise the cardiovascular system of our ageing population.”

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