Among Heart Failure Patients, Cannabis Users Have Better Outcomes

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A study conducted by the American Heart Association shows that cannabis users actually had a lower risk of atrial fibrillation. And the good news doesn’t stop there.

As any cannabis enthusiast will tell you, all experiences with marijuana are not the same. While people use it for its pleasant effects and therapeutic benefits, the experience isn’t fail safe.

Cannabis is known to sometimes cause an excited, even nervous or anxious reaction depending on the user, sample composition, amount consumed and other elements. Doctors call it an adrenergic state. This state is known to increase the risk of atrial fibrillation, the irregular, chaotic beating of the heart’s chambers and is also known as A-fib.

It is this reaction that has caused some concern about cannabis use by people with compromised heart health. Doctors have little information about the effect of cannabis on the occurrence of A-fib in patients with heart failure. A study conducted by the American Heart Association shows that cannabis users actually had a lower risk of A-fib. The good news doesn’t stop there.

First, let’s have a look at the study. Sometimes the best way to see patterns is to simply look back. That’s exactly what this study did by using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample to examine the hospital records of over six million patients in the U.S. admitted for heart failure.

Researchers compared the health, length of hospital stay and mortality rates of cannabis users and non-users. They “observed significantly reduced odds of atrial fibrillation among cannabis users.”  Not only that, patients who were cannabis users were also less likely to die in the hospital. Also surprising to researchers was the fact that cannabis users also had shorter hospital stays than non-cannabis users. 

This is not the first time that cannabis has shown a positive proactive effect to reduce the risk of serious health conditions. A study published in Neuropsychopharmacology showed that heavy cannabis users may have a reduced risk of stroke because of increased blood and oxygen flow to the brain. Cannabinoids, active compounds in cannabis, have also been shown to protect against traumatic brain damage.

Despite the good news, prescription cannabis medicine commercials are a long way off as long as cannabis remains listed as a Schedule I substance by the DEA and the FDA has “not approved marijuana as a safe and effective drug for any indication.” However, as the leading cause of death for both men and women in the US. with more than 600,000 Americans dying from heart disease every year, more research is inevitable.

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