Can I Use CBD Oil With Afib

Here are some of the best CBD oils for Atrial fibrillation (AFib), a condition where the heart experiences irregular heartbeats (arrhythmia). Atrial fibrillation occurs when the heart experiences arrhythmia — irregular heartbeats. CBD is believed to have properties that may support the healthy functioning of the cardiovascular system. Is marijuana safe when you have AFib? Find out what the experts say.

CBD Oil for AFib – August 2022

Atrial fibrillation , also called AFib , is a specific condition where the heart experiences irregular heartbeats (arrhythmia) due to excess atrial contraction.

AFib can lead to heart failure , stroke, blood clotting, and other heart-related disorders. Blood thinners , such as warfarin, may help prevent strokes in patients with atrial fibrillation .

It is estimated that at least 2.7 million Americans are living with AFib (4) .

There is growing evidence surrounding the use of cannabidiol ( CBD ) and its potential therapeutic effects in the cardiovascular system (5) .

CBD is one of many substances found in cannabis plants . It is not the same as tetrahydrocannabinol ( THC ), the primary psychoactive compound also present in cannabis (marijuana).

Although CBD and THC are the two major components used in medical marijuana , it is THC that makes users high.

In 2010, a study published by the British Journal of Pharmacology revealed that CBD reduced the total number of irregular , ventricular heartbeats ( heart arrhythmia ) in lab rats after they suffered a heart attack (6) . This kind of arrhythmia, coming from the ventricles instead of the atria, is different from AFIB, but it could be worth further investigation.

Researchers in a 2017 study learned that a single dose of CBD decreased blood pressure in male subjects (7) . They also observed that the compound reduced blood pressure response to stress in the participants, particularly when subjected to cold stress.

High blood pressure is said to increase the risk of atrial fibrillation in middle-aged men and women (8) .

Another study tested the hypothesis that CBD is capable of attenuating responses and consequences of stress in an animal model of anxiety.

Male rats exposed to restraint stress, a procedure intended to induce tension in animals, showed increased blood pressure and heart rate . The authors of the study found that these effects were reduced by cannabidiol (9) .

Meanwhile, experts in another study reported that CBD attenuated several processes associated with diabetes. They believed that, based on the results, CBD has great therapeutic potential in treating diabetes and other heart-related medical conditions (10) .

However, there are no direct studies that can prove CBD as an effective treatment for atrial fibrillation . Many trials on CBD used animal models, with only a few studies carried out on human subjects but none directly address AFib.

How CBD Oil Could Work to Help with AFib

CBD is said to engage with a part of the human body known as the endocannabinoid system or ECS. The ECS is a system that regulates the body by maintaining balance through its receptors.

Cannabidiol has been found to interact with cannabinoid receptors (11) , while there is growing evidence that it also binds with signaling pathways outside of the ECS (12) .

A study on lab rats revealed that CBD ’s interaction with ECS receptors allowed it to exert its cardioprotective effects in the subjects (13) .

In another study, researchers learned that cannabidiol binds and activates the PPARgamma receptor (14) . This receptor has been linked to various diseases of the cardiovascular system (15) .

The authors believed that the activation of the PPARgamma receptor is what caused CBD to exert its vascular actions in rats (16) .

It is beneficial for AFib patients to have good blood pressure control. Safe, established medications already exist for AFib and blood pressure but it is worth the continued research as there are not yet clear benefits for CBD and AFib.

The Pros and Cons of CBD Oil for AFib

The Pros
  • There is evidence that CBD may help with underlying blood pressure control which could help with AFib . Based on the studies mentioned above, researchers learned that CBD has properties that may benefit the cardiovascular system and another type of irregular heartbeat but not AFib specifically.
  • A study mentioned earlier on male subjects has shown that CBD reduced blood pressure , a condition that can lead to atrial fibrillation .
  • Consuming cannabidiol does not cause mind-altering effects on the user. CBD is not the same as THC , since tetrahydrocannabinol is psychoactive .
  • Most states allow people to buy and consume CBD . In places where cannabidiol is legally sold, it is possible to obtain CBD products without the need to acquire a doctor’s prescription.
  • Government agencies, like the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), acknowledge CBD ’s potential therapeutic applications (17) .
  • The World Health Organization published a case report that reviewed several clinical trials on CBD use. They learned that CBD is generally well-tolerated, even when taken in high doses (18) .
The Cons
  • The majority of studies on CBD were carried out on animal subjects. Clinical trials on human participants are lacking, making it difficult to determine its efficacy in treating various health issues . CBD’s effects, if any, on AFib have not yet been studied.
  • Epidiolex is the only cannabidiol product that has been approved by the FDA (19) . At this time, CBD has no other marketing applications approved by the agency.
  • Using CBD, together with other medications, can result in interactions with common AFib medications like blood thinners (20) and thus may increase the risk of bleeding. Always tell your doctor before taking CBD and other medications.
  • Many CBD products are mislabeled, especially those sold online (21) . People choosing to buy CBD via these channels may consume more or less of the compound than expected.

How CBD Oil Compares to Alternative Treatments for AFib

Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidant agents (vitamins C and E), and barberry are considered as alternative treatments that may benefit people with AFib (22) .

Dietary supplementation of an omega-3 fatty acid was shown to lower the risk of fatal cardiovascular events in patients who had a heart attack (23) .

Antioxidant agents, such as vitamins C and E, have been observed to protect against the development and progression of atrial fibrillation (24) .

Meanwhile, the compound extracted from barberries is said to have properties that can help with irregular heart palpitations (25) .

Compared to these alternative medications, cannabidiol is also believed to have cardioprotective qualities that may benefit patients with AFib .

A study has shown that CBD ’s cardioprotective abilities are due to its interaction with various receptors in the body (26) .

How to Choose the Right CBD for AFib

The three forms of CBD products available today are full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate.

Full- spectrum CBD oil is the most well-known of the three. This CBD variant contains all of the natural compounds of Cannabis sativa plants, such as THC , terpenes, and flavonoids.

Quality full- spectrum CBD products are high in cannabidiol , with only trace amounts of the other chemical compounds present.

The next type of CBD is called broad-spectrum, a variant quite similar to full-spectrum. The primary difference between the two is that broad-spectrum does not have THC .

Since tetrahydrocannabinol is a psychoactive compound, some individuals choose not to consume it. They prefer to purchase broad- spectrum CBD products to benefit from CBD and the other cannabis compounds.

The last type of CBD product is called isolate. CBD isolates are usually sold in crystalline or powdered form.

Due to its purity, a CBD isolate product does not have a distinct smell or taste.

Perhaps the most potent form of CBD oil is the full-spectrum variety. Full- spectrum CBD is known for the synergism called the “entourage effect.”

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This effect is a proposed mechanism of action in which cannabis compounds are said to be more effective when taken together (27) .

Whichever type of CBD one plans to buy, users must always choose the highest quality product available.

Here are several tips that can help users select the best CBD oil products for AFib :

  • Obtain a laboratory report or a certificate of analysis (COA). This document is the content analysis report of a CBD product showing the exact specifications described on its label.
  • CBD obtained from hemp plants are the best. Purchase from brands that use industrial hemp for their CBD products .
  • Be sure to read up on shop and product reviews before purchasing from an online CBD shop. If buying from a physical dispensary, make sure that the establishment has the proper authorization to sell CBD .
  • Know the legalities concerning the purchase and use of CBD in the various states, especially where one plans to consume it.
  • Talk to a health care expert, especially someone with past CBD experience, before purchasing any CBD product .

CBD Dosage for AFib

At this time, there are no approved FDA guidelines for CBD dosing. This predicament makes it difficult for people to know the right dose that could benefit patients with AFib .

However, looking at a past clinical trial and the dosage that was used may help to identify a suitable amount of CBD to take.

In one study, nine healthy male participants took 600 mg of cannabidiol (28) . The subjects reportedly did not experience any adverse events during the trial and even a week after taking CBD .

How to Take CBD Oil for AFib

Two of the fastest ways to administer CBD to those with AFib are through sublingual tincture and vaping.

Sublingual administration has shown to be a quick method of applying substances in the body (29) .

Meanwhile, inhaling CBD allows the compound to be delivered immediately and effectively due to high bioavailability (30) . Bioavailability is the amount in which a substance enters the body successfully for it to take effect.

However, not everyone is comfortable with vaping. Consuming CBD by way of edibles or capsules is a straightforward way for non-users to take CBD oil . The most common edibles sold by CBD brands are gummies .

Some brands sell CBD in the form of topicals. These products can be used for massage therapies, which may help people relax and feel at ease.

To measure their cannabidiol dosage accurately, users may choose to purchase CBD tinctures . These products allow individuals to correctly apply the right amount of CBD they need to take.

Massaging with CBD topicals may help those with AFib deal with minor discomforts. To avoid complications, visit a doctor for medical advice before using cannabidiol .

What is Atrial Fibrillation ?

Atrial fibrillation is considered to be the most prevalent type of erratic heartbeat that a person can experience. A few of the risk factors of AFib include age, existing heart disease , high blood pressure , and obesity.

Although often linked with irregular electrical impulses, the exact cause for AFib is relatively unknown.

The symptoms of atrial fibrillation are:

  • Rapid and abnormal heartbeat
  • A feeling of fluttering in the chest
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness
  • Faintness
  • Chest pains
  • Sweating

The Different Types of Atrial Fibrillation

There are at least five types of AFib that are characterized based on their duration and underlying reasons (31) .

  • Paroxysmal fibrillation is when a person’s heart returns to normal with or without intervention within a week after its start. Individuals with this type of AFib may experience episodes a few times each year or daily.
  • Persistent AFib can be defined as an abnormal rhythm of the heart that lasts more than a week. This variant of atrial fibrillation does not return to normal without treatment.
  • Long-standing AFib is a type of atrial fibrillation wherein the heart is continuously in an erratic rhythm, lasting more than twelve months.
  • Permanent AFib happens when the disorder lasts indefinitely, with the patient and doctor deciding not to continue its treatment.
  • Nonvalvular AFib is the form of AFib that is not caused by an issue with the heart valve.

What is Cardiac Rehabilitation?

Cardiac rehabilitation is an essential program for individuals recovering from heart muscle failure or surgery (32) . This program is supervised to include physical activity, education about healthy lifestyle choices, and counseling to improve mental health.

Anyone with cardiovascular disease is an ideal candidate for cardiac rehab.

The program could offer many benefits to a person’s health. These include:

  • Strengthening the heart and body after a heart attack
  • Relieving the symptoms of heart problems , such as chest pain
  • Reducing stress
  • Developing healthier habits
  • Improving mood
  • Increasing energy and strength
  • Staying motivated to take prescribed medications that help lower the risk of future heart problems
  • Preventing future cardiovascular disorders

It is possible to sign up for cardiac rehabilitation in a hospital or health center. Some programs allow rehab to be performed in the patient’s home.

A team of experts can guide individuals through cardiac rehabilitation. Professionals, such as nutrition specialists, physical therapists, and counselors, may take part in the program.

Conclusion

Cannabidiol may help with atrial fibrillation as it is believed to exert therapeutic effects ( antiarrhythmic ) that can benefit general heart health.

Studies have shown that CBD reduced blood flow pressure and the total number of irregular, venticular heartbeats (arrhythmia) in study subjects who had heart attacks. Abnormal heart rhythm and high blood pressure are conditions linked and related to AFib . However, ventricular arrhythmia is a different type of rhythm from AFib and requires emergency medical care. No discernable benefits can be said about CBD and AFib at this point.

CBD is said to engage with receptors of the endocannabinoid system , which researchers believe is the reason for its cardioprotective effects. The compound’s interaction with receptors outside of the ECS has also been observed.

Despite the positive outlook, there is a lack of clinical trials regarding CBD and its effectiveness in treating atrial fibrillation or blood pressure . Most of the studies on cannabidiol were performed on animals.

Before deciding to purchase and use any CBD product , one should consult a doctor to avoid complications. CBD is known to interact with common blood thinners like Warfarin, raising their levels and also possibly increasing the risk of bleeding. Your doctor may choose to adjust your prescription dose, but never adjust your own.

CBD Oil and AFib: Can Cannabis Help With Atrial Fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation — or AFib in short — is a condition characterized by irregular heartbeats also known as arrhythmia. When untreated, it can result in heart failure, stroke, blood clotting, and other cardiovascular problems.

It’s estimated that around 2.7 million Americans are living with AFib. Doctors typically prescribe blood thinners such as warfarin to help prevent strokes in patients with this condition.

There’s a growing body of evidence surrounding the benefits of CBD for the cardiovascular system.

Short for cannabidiol, CBD is one of many substances found in cannabis. It’s the second major cannabinoid next to THC, which is the main intoxicating ingredient in marijuana (high-THC cannabis).

Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t get you high, but instead, it helps you enjoy the plethora of health benefits associated with this compound.

In this article, we’ll leave no stone unturned exploring the use of CBD for AFib.

Does CBD Oil Help AFib?

A 2010 study posted by the British Journal of Pharmacology discovered that CBD reduced the total number of irregular, ventricular heartbeats (heart arrhythmia) in a rat model after they had a heart attack. This type of arrhythmia that doesn’t come from the atria but rather from the ventricles is different from AFib, but the said findings could be worth further analysis.

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In a 2017 study, the research team learned that a single dose of CBD reduced blood pressure in male subjects. They also noted that CBD lowered blood pressure response to stress in the subject, particularly in the event of cold stress.

Elevated blood pressure is believed to increase the risk of atrial fibrillation in middle-aged men and women.

Another study investigated the theory that CBD can attenuate responses and consequences of stress in animals with anxiety.

In the meantime, experts in another study concluded that CBD inhibited several processes linked to diabetes, pointing to CBD as a potentially therapeutic substance in treating diabetes and other heart-related diseases.

That being said, there are no studies that would investigate CBD’s efficacy as a treatment for atrial fibrillation. Many studies on CBD were conducted on animal models, with only a few small studies on human subjects —butt none directly tackle the problem of AFib.

How does CBD Oil work for AFib?

CBD interacts with the major regulatory network in our bodies known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). ECS works to promote and maintain homeostasis in the body through its receptors; for that purpose, it releases ligands known as endocannabinoids.

CBD has been found to indirectly engage with cannabinoid receptors type 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2), but there’s also a growing body of evidence that it works on multiple pathways beyond the ECS.

One study on lab rats found that CBD’s interaction with the ECS causes it to exert cardioprotective effects in the animals. In another study, the authors reported that CBD binds to and activates the PPARgamma receptor, which has been associated with various cardiovascular illnesses.

They also noted that the activation of the said receptor-induced vascular actions in rats.

Good blood pressure control is beneficial for AFib patients. There are already safe, established medications for this condition, but CBD can add yet another choice for patients that want to treat their AFib with holistic remedies.

Potential Benefits of CBD Oil for AFib

  • Some studies highlight CBD’s ability to control blood pressure, which could translate into better AFib control. The studies we’ve mentioned above noted that CBD offers benefits for the cardiovascular system and can help treat another type of arrhythmia but — not AFib specifically.
  • There is evidence that CBD can reduce hypertension, a condition that causes atrial fibrillation.
  • CBD doesn’t have intoxicating properties, so it won’t get you high, unlike THC.
  • CBD is federally legal and you can buy it without a prescription in every state.
  • Public health agencies such as NIH and the FDA acknowledge CBD’s potential therapeutic uses.
  • The WHO issued a case report where they reviewed several clinical trials investigating the efficacy and safety of CBD. The report concluded that CBD is safe and well-tolerated, even when taken in large amounts.

What Are the Limitations of Using CBD Oil for AFib?

  • Most of the studies on CBD were conducted on animal models. There are currently no clinical human trials on the use of CBD for AFib. The effects have not been directly studied with regards to this condition.
  • The only FDA-approved use of CBD is for epilepsy — and it’s not even CBD oil but synthetically isolated CBD.
  • Taking CBD oil alongside other medications, especially blood thinners, can lead to negative interactions. In the case of CBD and blood-thinners, the cross-interaction could trigger bleeding, so always talk to your doctor before taking CBD.
  • The CBD market is unregulated and thus there are many mislabeled products sold online. People choosing to buy CBD for AFib should be particularly cautious of who they’re buying from.

Full-Spectrum CBD vs Isolate: Which Is Better for AFib?

There’s an ongoing debate on the effectiveness of full-spectrum CBD oil vs CBD isolate for different health conditions.

Full-spectrum CBD oil contains the original phytochemical profile of the source plant, including adjunctive cannabinoids, terpenes, and trace amounts of THC (0.3% or less). These compounds work synergistically to enhance the therapeutic effects of your extract, unlike with CBD isolate — which contains nothing but pure CBD.

This means that full-spectrum CBD oil may be more effective for AFib than isolate; for that reason, the full-spectrum option is the desired type of CBD oil among the majority of consumers.

CBD isolate doesn’t have any odor and flavor. It also shouldn’t trigger a false-positive result on a drug test for THC, so if these are the reasons you avoid CBD oil, it may be a good idea to opt for pure CBD.

CBD Dosage for AFib

Since CBD isn’t regulated by the FDA, there are no official dosage recommendations from health agencies. This, in turn, makes it difficult for new consumers to know how much CBD oil they should take to relieve their symptoms and improve overall health.

If you want to figure out the optimal dosage for your individual situation, it will require some trial and error. The good news is that you can take a look at the past studies on CBD and cardiovascular health to compare different dosages and try them out on yourself.

It’s best to start low and slowly increase your dose until you find the amount that provides the expected results.

How to Take CBD for AFib?

Taking CBD oil or vaping CBD extracts are the fastest ways to administer CBD to those with AFib.

Sublingual use (under the tongue) provides relatively high bioavailability and a fast onset of effects. Bioavailability refers to the leftover amount of CBD that your body can use after being metabolized in the digestive tract.

Meanwhile, vaping CBD delivers it to your bloodstream through the lung tissue, so by way of inhaling it you can feel the effects almost instantaneously.

That being said, not everyone is comfortable with vaping, especially if they have AFib. Taking CBD by way of gummies or capsules is an easy way for non-vapers to take CBD oil.

Some brands also sell CBD oil as topicals. These formulations can be used for massage therapies to help people unwind and relax.

Dosage-wise, it’s best to purchase CBD oil because they come with droppers that allow for easy and correct application of the right amount of CBD.

Understanding Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation is the most prevalent type of erratic heartbeat that people can experience. Some of the risk factors of AFib include high blood pressure, obesity, age, and existing heart disease.

Despite being associated with irregular electrical impulses, the exact cause of AFib remains unknown to scientists.

The symptoms of Afib include:

  • Chest pains
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • A feeling of fluttering in the chest
  • Faintness
  • Sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid and abnormal heartbeat
  • Weakness

Different Types of Atrial Fibrillation

Medical researchers have outlined at least five types of AFib that can be distinguished based on their underlying causes and duration:

  • Paroxysmal fibrillation – this condition occurs when a person’s heart returns to normal with or without intervention within a week after its beginning. People with this type of AFib may go through such episodes a few times each year — or even daily.
  • Persistent AFib – this type of AFib refers to an abnormal rhythm of the heart that lasts more than one week. It doesn’t return to normal without treatment.
  • Long-standing AFib – it happens when the heart is continuously in an erratic rhythm, lasting more than one year.
  • Permanent AFib – in this case, the disorder lasts indefinitely, with the patient and doctor deciding to discontinue treatment.
  • Nonvalvular AFib – this form of AFib isn’t triggered by a problem with the heart valve.
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How Does the Heart Rehabilitate from AFib?

Cardiac rehabilitation is a paramount process for people recovering from heart surgery or heart muscle failure. This program requires medical supervision of your physical activity, education about healthy lifestyle choices, and mental health counseling. Anyone with AFib or any other cardiovascular problem can take part in cardiac rehab.

The program offers many benefits to a person’s health, such as:

  • Strengthening the body after a heart attack
  • Relieving chest pain and other symptoms of heart problems
  • Reducing stress
  • Learning healthier habits
  • Enhancing moods
  • Improving motivation
  • Preventing future cardiovascular issues.

You can sign up for cardiac rehabilitation in a health center or your local hospital. Some programs are implemented in the patient’s home.

Summarizing the Use of CBD for AFib

CBD can exert therapeutic effects on arrhythmic hearts and thus help with atrial fibrillation. Although no direct study implicated this, preliminary studies on animal models of heart diseases have shown that CBD can reduce blood pressure and the total number of irregular, ventricular heartbeats in people after heart attacks.

Abnormal heart rhythm and hypertension are the most probable underlying causes of AFib and require medical care.

CBD is said to interact with receptors of the ECS, which is the believed reason for its cardioprotective properties. Scientists have also observed CBD’s interactions with other receptors outside the ECS.

More clinical trials on humans regarding the use of CBD for AFib are needed, but current evidence holds promise for its potential use as a holistic treatment.

Do you believe in CBD’s cardioprotective effects? How do you take CBD oil to improve your heart health?

References:

  1. Walsh, S. K., Hepburn, C. Y., Kane, K. A., & Wainwright, C. L. (2010). Acute administration of cannabidiol in vivo suppresses ischaemia-induced cardiac arrhythmias and reduces infarct size when given at reperfusion. British journal of pharmacology, 160(5), 1234–1242. (1)
  2. Jadoon, K. A., Tan, G. D., & O’Sullivan, S. E. (2017). A single dose of cannabidiol reduces blood pressure in healthy volunteers in a randomized crossover study. JCI insight, 2(12), e93760. (2)
  3. Granjeiro, E. M., Gomes, F. V., Guimarães, F. S., Corrêa, F. M., & Resstel, L. B. (2011). Effects of intracisternal administration of cannabidiol on the cardiovascular and behavioral responses to acute restraint stress. Pharmacology, biochemistry, and behavior, 99(4), 743–748. (3)
  4. Horváth, B., Mukhopadhyay, P., Haskó, G., & Pacher, P. (2012). The endocannabinoid system and plant-derived cannabinoids in diabetes and diabetic complications. The American journal of pathology, 180(2), 432–442. (4)
  5. Fouad, A. A., Albuali, W. H., Al-Mulhim, A. S., & Jresat, I. (2013). Cardioprotective effect of cannabidiol in rats exposed to doxorubicin toxicity. Environmental toxicology and pharmacology, 36(2), 347–357. (5)
Nina Julia

Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.

Marijuana and AFib

Wondering if marijuana might have a soothing effect on your atrial fibrillation? Studies show that medical marijuana can help with symptoms of some conditions like multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and HIV/AIDS.

But for atrial fibrillation, the effects are more of a mixed bag.

A Bit of Good, More Bad

“It really depends on what you use it for,” says Uma Srivatsa, MD, clinical professor of medicine at UC Davis Health. “If you use it to relieve pain, there may be a benefit because pain can trigger AFib.”

On the other hand, she says, low levels of marijuana turn on your “fight or flight,” or stress response. This means there’s a higher chance that your racing, irregular heartbeat will get worse. In fact, marijuana can raise your heart rate for up to 3 hours after you use it. It also makes stroke and heart disease more likely. That’s significant because if you have AFib, your chance of a stroke is already five times higher than someone who doesn’t have it.

Marijuana also relaxes your blood vessels, which lowers your blood pressure. Srivatsa says this can kick off a response from your heart that’s bad news for AFib. When your blood pressure goes down, your heart rate can go up. This is especially true in older people who have other heart problems.

Another tricky piece of the puzzle is how much marijuana is OK to take.

“It’s important to understand that we have legalized marijuana without knowing dose effects,” Srivatsa says. “For instance, we know what a legal blood alcohol level is. But we don’t know what the ‘legal limit’ is for marijuana.

“How do we determine what makes you high vs. calm?”

Olujimi A. Ajijola, MD, PhD, a cardiologist at UCLA Health in Los Angeles, says the overwhelming effect of marijuana on your heart is harmful.

“We advise against it from a cardiovascular standpoint, in general,” he says. “I would definitely caution against people with AFib using it.”

What the Studies Show

Most of the research linking marijuana to heart problems like heart attack and stroke is based on people who smoke it. Smoke has cancer-causing agents and other irritants that make it harmful.

There aren’t as many studies yet on the heart effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or cannabidiol (CBD), two of the active ingredients in marijuana. Ajijola says that’s likely part of the reason why there aren’t any official guidelines on marijuana use from American College of Cardiology or the American Heart Association yet.

But he’s pretty sure they’re coming.

“Inevitably, people will study this,” Ajijola says. “I think guidelines won’t come out until there’s enough data to suggest one way or another, or enough people ask that the society make a statement.”

One thing he says is clear, though, is that smoking — of any kind — is harmful to heart health.

“Any sort of smoking includes risk factors for cardiovascular disease,” Ajijola says. “Smoking marijuana carries many of the same cardiovascular health hazards as smoking tobacco.”

One recent study seemed to suggest that marijuana might actually lower your risk of AFib. But Srivatsa

says it’s important to look more closely at the people in the study and how the researchers found their results. “I don’t think we can generalize this study to all populations,” she says.

“It’s a very specific study looking at people who have just suffered a heart attack in the hospital,” he says. “The marijuana users were younger, mostly male, and they didn’t have the usual risk factors that caused people to have heart attacks.”

They fared better after their heart attacks, but Ajijola says that’s likely because they had fewer risk factors for heart problems in the first place.

“I think the marijuana use is just helping identify with lower risk factors and people who are younger.”

Show Sources

Olujimi A. Ajijola, MD, PhD, cardiologist, UCLA Health, Los Angeles.

Uma Srivatsa, MD, MAS, clinical professor, division of cardiovascular medicine, UC Davis Health.

Mayo Clinic: “Medical Marijuana.”

National Institute on Drug Abuse: “What is Marijuana?”

CDC: “Marijuana: How Can It Affect Your Health?”

American Heart Association: “High Blood Pressure, Afib and Your Risk of Stroke.”

Harvard Health: “Marijuana and heart health: What you need to know.”

Heart Rhythm Society: “New Study Suggests Marijuana Use Does Not Increase Risk of Heart Arrhythmias, Instead May Reduce Risk of AFib.”