Cardiovascular Issues – Adverse Effects Of Marijuana

May 8, 2019

Immediately after smoking, THC increases heart rate by as much as 30 to 60 beats per minute. Known as tachycardia (wiki), this condition can last for about the first hour or longer. This shouldn’t be treated as dangerous for those in normal health as it’s virtually equivalent to a fast heartbeat caused by jogging or a game of tennis. It may, however, be a problem if you have heart disease.

Some heart patients experience chest pains or other circulatory discomfort after smoking marijuana. If this does happen, they should obviously stop and consult their physician.

Frequent marijuana users

I love marijuana cardiovascular issues A recent prospective study of patients who had previously had heart attacks showed an increased risk of mortality among those who continued using marijuana (similar to the risk linked to consuming alcohol). The study found a slightly higher mortality rate for regular users than for occasional users. Even so, the risk applied to deaths caused by both non-cardiovascular and cardiovascular issues, leaving the conclusions somewhat murky as to the relationship between heart stress and marijuana use (Mukamal).

Frequent users may develop a tolerance to tachycardia. Prescription drugs called beta-blockers are often prescribed for high blood pressure and other circulatory ailments and can also block tachycardia. If marijuana-induced tachycardia concerns you, you might find it effective to ask your doctor for a beta-blocker prescription.

Tachycardia is most likely related to the anti-cholinergic effects of cannabis. The cholinergic section of the nervous system helps regulate heartbeat, blood flow, body temperature, and other core functions. These anti-cholinergic effects can be found in many other drugs like nortiptyline, a common antidepressant. If combined, THC and drugs like nortriptyline can produce symptoms of Tachycardia.

Blood pressure and marijuana use

Blood pressure and cannabis use

THC might affect blood pressure, but not in any clear-cut and consistent pattern. It’s not uncommon for THC to produce modest increases in blood pressure for the first few minutes, followed by modest decreases after. Usually, THC causes a mild increase in blood pressure while lying down and a slight decrease while standing. This is not the case for everyone, however.

Often, marijuana causes faintness when standing or rising abruptly—a condition known as postural hypotension. When heavily “under the influence,” some marijuana users have been known to completely pass out. One of the rare marijuana-related fatalities involved a man who fell down and cracked his skull on the tub after getting too high. If you feel any dizziness or faintness, it’s best to sit or lie down as soon as possible. Then, wait for the sensation to pass and get up gradually.

Studies have indicated that the body’s endocannabinoids play a role in blood pressure modulation with strong doses of cannabinoids having hypotensive (pressure-lowering) properties. This has yet to be demonstrated in human clinical studies. One user might find that the THC will lower blood pressure on one occasion and raise it on the next. Chronic users may develop a tolerance.

For some patients, THC is clearly helpful in preventing hypertension (high blood pressure). One prime exampleis Steve Kubby, a patient advocate from California, who utilizes marijuana to regulate and control a normally fatal form of adrenal cancer. Without THC, Kubby’s tumor foments a surge in adrenaline that subsequently causes his blood pressure to skyrocket. Although his condition is atypical, Kubby has been able to prevent hypertension through chronic use of cannabis or Marinol.

Several other hypertensive patients note that they have been able to manage their blood pressure with regular marijuana use. John reports:

“Approximately 10 years ago I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. It was so high in fact (155-160 over 95+) it was destroying my one and only kidney. As a kid, I was hyperactive and used to smoke pot to do better in school. It kept me on task. I did a medical trial of my own. A little less than 2 years ago, I started smoking again. My blood pressure has consistently stayed under 130/85, sometimes as low as 120/56. In addition, it has changed my demeanor from anxious and aggressive to caring, gentle, patient, and righteous. In short, the use of marijuana has saved my kidney, my life, my sanity, and my family.”

Even so, surveys of chronic users haven’t really found a statistically significant correlation between marijuana use and blood pressure.

The marijuana and health report

Marijuana and health reportIn its 1982 report titled “Marijuana and Health,” the National Academy of Sciences cautioned:

“The smoking of marijuana causes changes in the heart and circulation that are characteristic of stress. But there is no evidence that it exerts a permanently deleterious effect on the normal cerebrovascular system.”

“The situation is quite different for a user with an abnormal heart. There is much evidence that marijuana increases the work of the heart. This increase in the workload is dangerous for patients with hypertension, cerebrovascular disease, and coronary atherosclerosis.”

The NAS report’s warnings seem considerably overblown in regard to hypertension, especially considering that we live in a society in which men with cardiovascular disease are routinely prescribed drugs for erectile dysfunction. No deaths have been reported from a hypertensive crisis directly attributable to marijuana use by itself. However, when combined with more dangerous drugs like cocaine, the picture can be less clear.

Confusingly, the American Glaucoma Society expressed the exact opposite concern about blood pressure:

“From the standpoint of glaucoma management…the most disturbing adverse reaction is systemic hypotension (low blood pressure), which has been observed with the use of oral and intravenous cannabinoids as well as marijuana inhalation.”

These paradoxical and inconclusive views can make heart patients wary of trying marijuana. It’s probably best to talk to your doctor and monitor exactly how your condition reacts to the marijuana.

One recent and intriguing animal study indicated that cannabidiol could actually protect the heart (Durst). We have already seen that CBD is a non-psychoactive ingredient in cannabis that only really appears in high concentrations in hemp strains and special preparations like GW’s Sative spray. CBD also appears to have potent anti-inflammatory effects. In the animal study, rats that were treated with CBD experienced considerable protection from cardiovascular damage associated with heart attacks.

Thanks for reading. Please leave comments or questions below and don’t forget to download my free grow bible


The founder of I Love Growing Marijuana, Robert Bergman, is a marijuana growing expert that enjoys sharing his knowledge with the world. He combines years of experience, ranging from small-scale grows to massive operations, with a passion for growing. His articles include tutorials on growing... [read more]


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  1. By Mike ,24 Dec 2013
    Another side of the story.. Just yesterday I smoked just a couple of hits of a joint and my blood pressure and heart rate skyrocketed. 170+/90/140 . Thank god I haven't developed a heart condition yet. These kinds of figures […]Read More
    1. By Darian ,26 Jan 2018
      When I had just a few hits, it sent me to the hospital with dangerous sky rocketing heart rate and atrial fibrillation and blood pressure stroke level. It should not be legal recreationally, only for Medical purposes. I was in […]Read More
  2. By Kimberley ,16 Jun 2014
    My anxiety was very high before using pot..I was born with a heart condition had open heart at 23 another at 60..I started smoking at 32 for anxiety.. I have broken my back in 5 places both my arms broken […]Read More
  3. By Kimberley ,16 Jun 2014
    Robert I love your site..thankyou..I can't wait to get some seeds.
  4. By BirdDog ,24 Jun 2014
    As a longtime user and a hypertension patient I will have to record and run some of these numbers.....should be a fun experiment.
  5. By Joel ,28 Aug 2015
    Hello, found your current blog by pure luck while romniag around the net this evening, and glad that i did! I do like the page structure and colorings, but I have to point out that I'm having trouble when it […]Read More
  6. By Marijuana Versus Tobacco – Adverse Effects Of Cannabis – ,10 Sep 2015
    […] damage than pack-a-day cigarette smokers. In addition, there is no evidence linking marijuana to heart disease or to non-respiratory cancers like bladder, colon, and rectal cancer—a distinction reserved, it […]
  7. By Adverse Effects Of Marijuana, Real and Imaginary – ,10 Sep 2015
    […] -Cardiovascular issues associated with marijuana use (i.e. marijuana’s effects on heartbeat and blood pressure). -Implications for marijuana use during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. -Possible allergic reactions to marijuana. […]
  8. By Brittney ,27 Nov 2015
    This just happened to me this morning , I guess my brother got some weed from his college friends and brought some home unfortunately for me, I guess the weed iv been smoking for the past 7 years has been […]Read More
    1. By Jennifer ILGM ,27 Nov 2015
      Thanks for sharing Brittney!
    2. By sean ,27 Jan 2017
      Maybe what you were smoking wasn't cannabis, could be that synthetic junk! Or a mix, sometimes people put junk in there cannabis to make it stronger. Personally I think you need to buy some good seed from a reputable place […]Read More
  9. By Amanda ,22 Mar 2016
    I was diagnosed with tachycardia at age 19, I'm now almost 27. Every single time I smoke regular marijuana, it increases my heart rate to at least 130 bpm. I cannot smoke kush, what most people call loud, at all. […]Read More
    1. By sean ,27 Jan 2017
      I was on three blood pressure meds and some other junk. Most meds you get for anything have horrible side effects. Most doctors just want to make money selling you all that junk, with stupid names you can't even pronounce, […]Read More
    2. By sean ,27 Jan 2017
      Try a teaspoon of cayenne pepper in a cup of hot water, chug it down. Its a little rough at first but trust me it will help your heart immensely. Look up doctor Christopher on the internet. Check out the […]Read More
    3. By Ken ,30 Jun 2017
      Just tell your doc you are having chest pains as well. You need this sorted. It can cause an enlarged heart and do non repairable damage
    4. By Darlene ,19 Aug 2018
      Has anyone ever tested you for POTS? Do they know why you have tachicadia? I have POTS and recently started using medical marijuana and it increases my heart rate from 80's to 130-140.
  10. By Steve Bleakney ,03 Mar 2017
    I have observed smokers who mix tobaco and pot in the bong to get seriously hooked on it and note a bad nightime cough comes along with it. I am concerned...
  11. By Joe ,14 Jul 2017
    I have a problem with smoking pot and passing out due to my beta blocker. I am wondering if I would have the same results just using CBD oil
  12. By delaney mayo ,08 Jan 2018
    I had problems with debilitating leg cramps, easy bruising, high blood pressure and severe arthritis. I am 66 years old and every one of those problems resolved. Plus many more, such as faded age spots and scar removal. I cannot […]Read More
  13. By mike sloan ,28 Oct 2018
    Just remember they are not forcing you to be a criminal, they are calling you a criminal, but you are NOT being a, let them call you whatever they want, its on them.

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