With the abundance of information on the Internet and elsewhere, we’ve never had more to digest than we do today. However, with all that information comes the spread of this information and myths, making it much harder to understand what is good and what is evil. To some degree, the stereotypical hand-over-chest depiction of a heart attack, while accurate for many, does not encompass the entirety of the problem and may leave some patients, especially women, thinking that they are not experiencing this deadly cardiovascular event. Let’s dig further.
To understand a heart attack, we must learn more about how the heart and the cardiovascular system work. The heart is just like any other muscle or tissue in the body in that it needs oxygenated blood to function properly. A ‘heart attack’ myocardial infarction (MI) occurs when part of the heart is deprived of oxygen for a period of time. When oxygen does not reach the heart, the deprived area begins to die. The resultant weakness is responsible for many of the symptoms that we associate with a heart attack.
A heart attack can have a variety of causes and many different implications for the person affected. There are specific names for some types of heart attacks, depending on the cause and location of the problem. You may hear terms like ‘STEMI’ or ‘NSTEMI’.
As cannabis products are legalized state-by-state, we have seen a significant rise in health issues associated with compounds that many once thought were relatively harmless – in fact, some proponents have touted cannabis as a miracle cure.
However, a recent evaluation of CDC data1 has given credence to the concerns surrounding cannabis. After following younger adults (45 years old and younger) in the 30 days after taking a cannabis product, the risk for a heart attack increased by 50%. The results are a reminder that we still do not know enough about the effects of cannabis on our health.