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Home » Can Cannabis Lower Heart Attack Risk?

Can Cannabis Lower Heart Attack Risk?

Smoking too much weed can cause heart issues like tachycardia, although a new study finds that cannabis use actually reduces a person’s chance of suffering a heart attack. According to the researchers, the level of protection provided by cannabinoids mirrors that of red wine, which is famously good for the heart when consumed in moderation[i].

The Link Between Cannabis And Heart Attack Risk

Despite reports that pot can harm a user’s ticker, a recent major report by the National Academy of Sciences failed to find evidence that cannabis use can trigger a heart attack[ii]. To settle the debate, the authors of this latest study analysed data from hundreds of thousands of people in the UK to examine the link between smoking weed and myocardial infarctions.

Overall, they found that people who use cannabis are around 15 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack than those who don’t. Interestingly, a similar reduction in risk was observed in red wine drinkers compared to non-drinkers.

In one cohort of 157,111 people, increasing levels of cannabis use were associated with greater decreases in the chances of a heart attack. Of the 3,394 individuals within this group who had suffered a myocardial infarction, 2,780 had never used pot in their lives. A further 270 had smoked once or twice, 147 had got stoned between three and ten times, 110 had used weed 11 to 100 times, and 87 had done so more than 100 times.

cannabis heart attack

A separate cohort included 10,129 people who had had a heart attack. 3,740 said they never drank red wine. In contrast, only 616 cardiac arrests occurred in people who drank four glasses a week, with this number dropping to 144 among those who enjoyed nine weekly glasses of plonk.

Summing up their findings, the study authors write that “marijuana, which has not been shown to have the favourable physiological effects of red wine on the heart, does reduce myocardial infarction risk to an extent comparable to red wine. Perhaps both affect the heart by reducing stress.”

How Does Cannabis Protect Against Heart Attack?

“The cannabis plant contains more than 100 unique chemical components classified as cannabinoids. One or more of these substances may be responsible for the reduction of MI risk we report here,” explain the researchers. While more studies are needed to determine which compounds in cannabis decrease the odds of a heart attack, the authors speculate that both smoking weed and drinking red wine may exert their protective effects by helping people relax.

A reduction in “psychological stress, negative emotions, and resistance to social interactions” is likely to prevent heart disease, they say. At the same time, they recognise that red wine affects the heart via several other mechanisms. These include the regulation of cholesterol levels, the prevention of blood clots and the activation of antioxidant pathways.

As such, the researchers speculate that weed’s positive impact on the heart may reflect more than just a stress reduction, although exactly which biological processes are involved remains unknown.

[i] Lehrer S, Rheinstein PH. Marijuana and Myocardial Infarction in the UK Biobank Cohort. Cureus. 2022 Feb 9;14(2). –

[ii] National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids: the current state of evidence and recommendations for research. –

Cultivation information, and media is given for those of our clients who live in countries where cannabis cultivation is decriminalised or legal, or to those that operate within a licensed model. We encourage all readers to be aware of their local laws and to ensure they do not break them.

This post is also available in: French

Ben Taub