While the positive health benefits of marijuana use have been widely reported, there is evidence to suggest that it may present risks for those with cardiovascular disease.
Marijuana has become more widespread in its use around the US due to increased legalization of both medical and recreational use. Most users admit they partake for recreational purposes, with the others taking it for physical or mental health issues.
Some medical experts have said there still needs to be more research conducted exploring the effects of marijuana on older people. The hope is that this research can help protect people from worsening conditions via marijuana use by helping them control dosages.
A case report from the Canadian Journal of Cardiology examined an elderly man (70) who suffered a heart attack after eating a THC infused lollop. THC is the chemical responsible for the psychological ‘high’ that marijuana gives.
The man was taking cardiac medication for coronary artery disease. He allegedly ate the lollipop hoping that it would help minimize his pain and get a better sleep.
Horizon Health Network’s Department of Cardiology Dr. Alexandra Saunders said that the dose the man had was “inappropriate”.
She added that “Marijuana can be a useful tool for many patients, especially for pain and nausea relief. At the same time, like all other medications, it does carry risk and side effects.”
The amount of THC in the lollipop (more than found in a typical joint) gave the man anxiety and caused him to experience hallucinations. The strain this caused him likely raised his blood pressure such that he suffered a heart attack.
The man reported that his chest pain went away when the effects of the lollipop wore off, suggesting a link between the THC and his heart attack. Other incidents have reported strokes and even sudden death in older people with cardiovascular disease who consume high levels of THC.