Heart Disease

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Heart Disease and Medical Cannabis

Heart disease is leading fatality in racial and ethnic groups, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), noting one person dies every 37 seconds from the disease.

“Heart disease costs the United States about $219 billion each year from 2014 to 2015,” reports the CDC. “This includes the cost of health care services, medicines, and lost productivity due to death.” There are a few symptoms of heart disease, including pain and shortness of breath that inevitably causes anxiety. Medical cannabis eases both chronic pain and anxiety

Studies prove patients with chronic illness to mental health disorders find comfort from the cannabis’s five main curing properties: cannabidiol (CBD), cannabichromene (CBC), Delta (9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabigerol (CBG), and CBN, which is a form of THC with different effects. For this reason, medical cannabis is sometimes considered by those with heart disease. 

Heart Disease Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

The CDC reports, “coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease, killing 365,914 people in 2017” alone. Coronary heart disease occurs when plaque accumulates on blood artery walls, which eventually narrows from cholesterol deposits. Risk factors for the condition, along with ethnicity, include high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, diabetes, alcoholism, obesity, and smoking, among others, according to the CDC.

The ultimate risk of heart disease is that it causes a heart attack, which could be fatal. The Mayo Clinic details more common symptoms of heart disease. The top six are chest tightness and pain that spreads to neck, jaw, or back, nausea, shortness of breath, cold sweats, fatigue, and dizziness. 

Avoiding heart disease by lifestyle choices is the keyway to treat the condition. Diet, exercise, and ceasing smoking and drinking alcohol are the wisest ways to prevent heart disease. Because heart disease has been linked to stress and anxiety, de-stressing one’s lifestyle as much as possible is also important. For those who inherit the disorder, maintaining healthy lifestyle choices as young as possible is recommended. 

Cannabinoid Treatment for Heart Disease

While some reports note the risk associated between heart disease and cannabis users, personal testimonies continue to come in for those who suffer from chronic pain and anxiety. When it comes to chronic pain, The journal PAIN, reports “medical cannabis patients, including two-thirds with chronic pain, report health benefits including improved pain management and sleep.” 

Additionally, Journal Health Affairs said in 2017 that after researching state registry data of medical cannabis qualifying conditions, chronic pain was the most “historically” qualifying condition for use, with up to 64.5% licensed patients confirming it successfully relieved their discomfort. As for anxiety, the condition has been directly related to heart disease, according to John Hopkins Medicine, reporting less stress would equal less heart disease.  

“It’s my view and my personal clinical experience that anxiety disorders can play a major role in heart disease,” says Dr. McCann, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the renowned medical school. “I believe that a really careful look at anxiety would reveal the ways it can severely impact heart disease, both as a contributing factor and as an obstacle in recovery.”

A 2017 study published in JCI Insight suggested CBD’s capability of lowering blood pressure, a risk factor for heart disease. Nine healthy volunteers received doses of CBD, which reduced resting blood pressure as well as blood pressure response to stress. The results bolstered those of a 2010 study that discovered CBD’s potential to treat cardiovascular disorders. While the sample size was very small, this study warrants further research into CBD’s potential role in cardiovascular treatment.

Lastly, anxiety itself sometimes shows the same symptoms of a heart attack, leaving many to believe they are suffering from a fatal episode when they are simply having a panic attack. There is more than one reason that medical cannabis could assist in decreasing heart disease symptoms. 

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Data Last Updated 04/27/2022

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