Ottawa Heart Institute: Pot could be bad for your heart

Nick Seebruch
Ottawa Heart Institute: Pot could be bad for your heart
File photo.

OTTAWA, Ontario – The Senate passed legislation on Tuesday, June 19 that will legalize marijuana in Canada. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Oct. 17, 2018 will be the official day that recreational marijuana becomes legal. The Ottawa University Heart Institute however warns in a press release that when it comes to the love muscle, it is still unknown what damage marijuana might do.

“There is existing evidence that marijuana use may lead to quicker onset of exercise-induced angina during a stress test among people with heart disease. This suggests another reason why it is not a good idea to use marijuana,” said Robert Reid, PhD. Reid, who is a behavioural scientist with the Ottawa Heart Institute also noted that marijuana could be dangerous for those with an irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmia, because it activates the sympathetic nervous system

According to the Heart Institute, marijuana increases heart rate and blood pressure. if smoked, marijuana reduces the capacity of your blood to transport oxygen throughout the body and both these factors increase strain on the heart muscle.

The Heart Institute also warned about a possible connection between marijuana and depression.

“We really don’t know whether marijuana causes depression, said Dr. Andrew Pipe, an MD with the Heart Institute. “Or whether people who are depressed use marijuana at least in part as an effort to self-medicate. Either way, it underscores yet another area where more research is needed.”

Dr. Reid and Dr. Pipe recommend patients consult their physicians about the effects regular marijuana use could have on their bodies.

“Based on what evidence there is, as well as common sense, trying this newly legal drug should be approached with caution and that, if you must, then don’t smoke it,” said both Dr. Pipe and Dr. Reid.

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