CBD Oil And Heart Palpitations

Marijuana is legal for medical use in more than half of the U.S. states. Although the cannabis plant has been used for thousands of years, reliable scientific research on its medical benefits and potential risks has lagged behind. Get the essential information related to CBD and heart arrhythmia. Modern studies and anecdotal reports are included. Dr. Danial Schecter said marijuana can have unwanted effects on the cardiovascular system.

Marijuana and heart health: What you need to know

Access to marijuana is growing, but marijuana benefits and its risks have not been carefully studied.

In many states in this country, you can legally use marijuana. Smoking is the fastest way to feel the effects of marijuana, which is derived from the Cannabis sativa plant. Yet marijuana smoke contains many of the same toxins, irritants, and carcinogens found in cigarette smoke — a known contributor to heart disease as well as cancer.

Marijuana cultivation and use dates back some 6,000 years. However, the cardiovascular and other health effects of cannabis aren’t well studied. That’s partly because under federal law, cannabis is a Schedule I substance, meaning it has “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” That designation places numerous restrictions on researchers, making it difficult to carry out rigorous research on marijuana.

As a result, everything we’re told about what marijuana does or doesn’t do should be viewed with a certain amount of caution. This holds equally true for the risks as well as the benefits.

Pot and pain

Some of the evidence supporting the medical use of marijuana is marijuana’s benefits for managing chronic pain. Cannabinoid compounds (see “Cannabis 101”) interact with receptors in nerve cells to slow down pain impulses and ease discomfort. Cannabinoids also have been shown to be effective in quelling nausea and vomiting. In addition, marijuana is a powerful appetite inducer. The combination of these attributes makes marijuana a therapeutic option for people coping with the side effects of chemotherapy and others who have unintended weight loss. However, in conditions where gaining extra weight might exacerbate existing health problems, such as diabetes, appetite stimulation would be counterproductive.

Cardiovascular effects

One of the few things scientists know for sure about marijuana and cardiovascular health is that people with established heart disease who are under stress develop chest pain more quickly if they have been smoking marijuana than they would have otherwise. This is because of complex effects cannabinoids have on the cardiovascular system, including raising resting heart rate, dilating blood vessels, and making the heart pump harder. Research suggests that the risk of heart attack is several times higher in the hour after smoking marijuana than it would be normally.

While this does not pose a significant threat to people who have minimal cardiovascular risk, it should be a red flag for anyone with a history of heart disease. Although the evidence is weaker, there are also links to a higher risk of atrial fibrillation or ischemic stroke immediately following marijuana use. Consistent with these links, studies also suggest that marijuana smoking may increase the long-term death rate among heart attack survivors.

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Questions remain on marijuana’s benefits and risks

Most of the evidence linking marijuana to heart attack and stroke is based on reports from people who smoked it. So, it’s hard to separate the effects of cannabinoid compounds on the cardiovascular system from the hazards posed by the irritants and carcinogens contained in the smoke. Because cannabis smoke is known to cause airway inflammation, wheezing, and chest tightness, people with lung diseases should not smoke it. People with mental health disorders or at risk of addiction should carefully consider the potential harms prior to using marijuana.

Cannabis 101

The cannabis plant contains more than 100 unique chemical components classified as cannabinoids. These are the active ingredients that bind to specific receptors in the brain and other parts of the body. The two most prevalent types are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is primarily responsible for the mind-altering properties sought out by recreational users, and cannabidiol (CBD), which has no psychoactive effect.

The magnitude of marijuana’s psychoactive effect depends on the THC level in the particular strain of plant, which parts of the plant are used, and the route through which the drug enters the body. Legalization in many states has led to the breeding of strains that are three to seven times more potent than those available three decades ago.

The impact of smoked or inhaled marijuana is generally felt within a few minutes and lasts two to four hours. Marijuana ingested in food or beverages kicks in more slowly and lasts longer.

CBD and Heart Arrhythmia: What We Know So Far

The relationship between CBD and arrhythmia is somewhat complicated.

Contemporary scientific research shows that CBD has a potentially beneficial effect on arrhythmia, and on the cardiovascular system as a whole.

On the other hand, a small percentage of people experience an increased heart rate and heart palpitations when they use CBD, which are known symptoms of arrhythmia.

Before we get into more details of the research, let’s briefly explain arrhythmia.

Cardiac arrhythmia is a group of conditions characterized by an irregular heartbeat, where the heart either beats too rapidly or too slowly.

One of the main symptoms of arrhythmia are heart palpitations, which are characterized by increased awareness of the contraction of the heart, often accompanied by the hard and irregular beating of the heart.

Unlike CBD, which is non-psychoactive, THC (the most abundant psychoactive cannabinoid in the cannabis plant) is known to cause rapid heartbeat and heart palpitations.

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This especially happens to novice users, but also if the user consumes too much THC at once.

Smoking Too Much Cannabis? Here’s How to Overcome It

This occurs because THC significantly lowers blood pressure, which causes the heart to pick up the pace and beat faster.

For a very large percentage of users, CBD doesn’t produce this effect but some people do experience irregular heartbeats and heart palpitations from consuming cannabidiol.

A good example of how rarely this happens is this 2019 study, which analyzed the effects of CBD on people suffering from chronic pain.

This research had 97 patients (30 to 65 years old), and only one of them experienced an increased heartbeat from using CBD.

Patients were using two soft gels per day for 8 weeks, and each soft gel contained 15.7mg of CBD, and 0.5mg of THC.

The woman who experienced a rapid heartbeat reported that the treatment “made her heart race”.

The reasons behind this occurrence are still unknown, but if it happens to you, it’s important to understand the difference between CBD products.

Full-spectrum CBD products have a significant amount of THC, and other minor cannabinoids and terpenes are also present in these products.

If you’re especially sensitive to THC, these types of products can definitely induce a rapid heartbeat and palpitations.

Compared to full-spectrum products, broad-spectrum CBD products have a lesser amount of THC in them, and they also contain minor cannabinoids and terpenes.

Broad-spectrum products are far less likely to induce palpitations, although it’s still possible.

Finally, CBD isolates are the third type of CBD products. They only contain CBD, and nothing else. These products are least likely to cause a racing heart or palpitations.

Full Spectrum CBD vs CBD Isolate: Which Should You Choose?

It’s important to mention that CBD isolates are considered the least beneficial type of CBD products because cannabinoids work synergically in the body.

This synergistic cooperation of different cannabinoids is known as the entourage effect, because the presence of THC and other cannabinoids increases the health benefits of CBD.

Even though some users experience arrhythmia-like symptoms from CBD, an animal study from 2010 found that an acute administration of CBD suppressed ischaemia-induced arrhythmia.

Ischaemia is a restriction of blood to tissues, which causes a shortage of oxygen that is necessary for keeping tissues alive.

The researchers also stated that CBD reduced the size of infarction (tissue death), when it was given at reperfusion injury.

A 2013 review mentioned that current evidence suggests CBD has positive effects on the cardiovascular system, but that clinical research on human participants is required to determine if these positive effects will translate to the human cardiovascular system.

Finally, a 2018 review stated that cannabinoids appear as promising therapeutic agents for cardiovascular diseases.

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Conclusion

Since the research on the effects of CBD on arrhythmia (and the cardiovascular system in general) is still in its starting phases, it probably isn’t wise to consume it for these purposes until more is known on the subject.

On the other hand, if you’re experiencing heart palpitations from CBD products, make sure to follow our guidelines regarding different types of CBD products.

If these heart-related symptoms persist, you can also consider lowering the dose or perhaps even discontinuing your CBD regimen.

Expert cautions people with heart problems about using cannabis

Cannabis can have troublesome effects on people with unstable heart conditions, says physician

Dr. Danial Schecter said marijuana can have unwanted effects on the cardiovascular system. (Submitted)

A medical cannabis expert is cautioning people with heart problems about using marijuana.

Dr. Danial Schecter is one of the keynote speakers at a cardiology symposium today in Sydney, N.S.

Schecter is the co-founder of the Cannabinoid Medical Clinic, which has 20 Canabo Medical Clinic locations across Canada, including one in Halifax.

He said although cannabis is generally safe, it does have side-effects, which have been largely overlooked as Canada moves to legalize its recreational use.

“Cannabis activists have almost taken over the conversation around cannabis, and their message is that cannabis is a harmless drug, it’s never killed anyone in the 5,000 years people have been using it.”

Unwanted side-effects

Schecter, who also holds a fellowship in hospital medicine and is an active hospitalist at the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre in Barrie, Ont., suggests cannabis can have troublesome effects on people with unstable heart conditions.

“It can cause what we call tachycardia, which is an increase in your heart rate. It can also cause peripheral vasodilation, which means your veins and your arteries can dilate and drop your blood pressure,” said Schecter.

“And that means that people who are using cannabis with unstable heart diseases, such as unstable angina or at high risk of having a heart attack or stroke, should really use cannabis with caution.”

Schecter said people with unstable heart diseases or who are at high risk of having a heart attack or stroke should be careful about using cannabis. (Evan Mitsui/CBCNews)

Schecter said like all drugs, cannabis also can produce unwanted side-effects when combined with other medications or alcohol. His presentation is intended to flag potential risks for cardiologists and other medical professionals attending the Sydney event.

Schecter noted that it’s the THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, in cannabis that produces both the high associated with marijuana and the negative side-effects.

“So if people consume CBD [cannabidiol]-only products, or oils, then they don’t get the same cardiovascular effects, or the other unwanted side-effects.”