A Cardiologist’s Advice on Marijuana Use

Originally published May 7, 2024

Last updated May 7, 2024

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A graphic design of a green marijuana leaf

Recent studies presented by the American Heart Association linked marijuana use with negative cardiovascular effects — including a 34% increase in the risk of heart failure for daily users.

According to Antreas Hindoyan, MD, an interventional cardiologist for the USC Cardiac and Vascular Institute, part of Keck Medicine of USC, the new research supports a growing understanding of marijuana’s potential health impacts.

How does marijuana use impact cardiovascular health?

Smoking it damages the blood vessels, just like tobacco smoke. It triggers the fight-or-flight adrenaline release, which can cause abnormal heart rhythms.

It also affects the coronary beds and, with the new research, we know that it likely contributes to heart failure.

“I recommend a cautionary approach….I think the evidence will only become stronger…”

Antreas Hindoyan, MD

How should users evaluate their risks?

I recommend a cautionary approach. More robust studies are needed, but I think the evidence will only become stronger, including in relation to heart failure, heart attacks, arrhythmias and strokes.

What do you tell your patients?

Marijuana use is something you can change. By limiting or stopping it, you’ll be helping yourself. The findings are especially important as more and more older people gravitate to marijuana use.

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Michael Juliani
Michael Juliani is the managing editor of USC Health.

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USC Health Magazine 2024 Issue #1

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