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.

What Could Be The Issue?

There are many potential concerns surrounding cannabis usage in young people today. First, new strains of cannabis have been grown to provide greater potency. Certain strains of cannabis are many times stronger than what would’ve been grown and used just a few years ago. The delivery method makes a difference too. Vaping oils versus smoking the plant makes a big difference in how much THC is introduced into the body with each puff. Also, while legal cannabis products are regulated, there is still the potential for poor manufacturing processes allowing contaminants to enter the product.

Our Take

While there may be some truth in cannabis products and derivatives possibly having health benefits, we still haven’t fully understood how the proliferation of cannabis products is going to affect our collective health. Clearly, not all cannabis products are created equal, and we must do our research. It is also important to understand how common these heart attacks were in the study cohort. .8% of non-cannabis users had heart attacks vs 1.3% of cannabis users. So, while it is a significant relative increase, the overall incidence remains rather low.

Taking a wider look at the issue of heart health: There is a distinct worsening of peoples’ physical and mental health, which has contributed to a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease. This is especially true during the coronavirus pandemic, where many have suffered from mental health concerns, or have put off their care due to worries about contracting the virus.