Can Marijuana Increase the Risk of Cardiovascular Complications in Older People?


In recent years, marijuana has been legalized in different parts of the world. While some people use it recreationally, others get it to relieve chronic pain and treat mental issues.

However, experts say that the usage of marijuana in older people need more research. Specifically, scientists need to educate the public about the potential effects of these drugs and their recommended dosages.

A case present in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology has something to do with today’s topic. It included a man, 70 years of age, who suffered from a heart attack after consuming a lollipop with 90 milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the active substance in marijuana.

The man was a case of stable coronary artery disease as was on cardiac medications. He took the lollipop in order to improve his sleep and reduce pain. The dose taken by this man has been deemed inappropriate by many health experts.

Smoking a normal joint exposes an individual to 7 mg of THC. On the other hand, a synthetic form of THC known as dronabinol has 2.5 mg of it. This is used by people with cancer or AIDS for combating nausea and increasing appetite.

According to experts, marijuana is an amazing tool for a number of patients, especially those looking for relief from nausea and pain. However, like every other medication, it does have its own side effects.

Marijuana and Cardiovascular Risk

The massive amount of THC that the old man consumed led to the development of hallucinations and anxiety. The strain the potentiated these effects in his body also caused a heart attack by triggering a response through the sympathetic nervous system.

His cardiac event includes a rapid heart rate, increased levels of catecholamine, and an abnormally elevated blood pressure. The chest pain of the man vanished as soon as the effects of marijuana wore off.

Other similar incidences have occurred in the past indicating an association between the consumption of cannabis and the occurrence of cardiovascular events such as stroke and an irregular heartbeat.

However, according to the experts, most of this research


more on young patients and never took into account the potencies or different formulations of the product in use.

A Word of Warning

The doctor who examined this recent case has warned the people, especially the older ones who often use marijuana. They have advised the people to consume the smallest possible dose to achieve their intended benefits. Anyone who suffers from a cardiovascular condition or is at high risk of developing one must stay away from THC.

Instead, such people can use cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive alternative to THC.

Such people must also account for other factors such as the method of consumption and tolerance. For instance, a person who has been smoking marijuana is more likely to experience lesser side effects as compared to someone who has just started.

Similarly, consuming a brownie infuse with THC introduces more of this substance in your system as compared to the amount getting in through a vaporizer. So be careful.


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Samantha Issac
Samantha is a graduate of Medicine with masters in Public Health. Most of her writings are in medicinal tools, technology, and treatments. In addition to that, she is a freelance healthcare writer based in the USA.


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