Study finds combining cannabis and an irregular heartbeat can be deadly

Brittany A. Roston - Apr 23, 2021, 6:48pm CDT
Study finds combining cannabis and an irregular heartbeat can be deadly

People who suffer from a heart rhythm disorder should reconsider using cannabis products, according to a new study published by the European Society of Cardiology. The research involved data on millions of people in the US, finding that cannabis users who also had an irregular heartbeat had much greater odds of dying during hospitalization compared to people with regular heart rhythms.

The study was based on data from the National Inpatient Sample database, a vast trove of info that covers the majority of the population. The data used for this research was on nearly 2.5 million adults who were admitted to hospitals from 2016 to 2018; they all reported using cannabis and 7.6 percent of them also had a heart rhythm disorder.

Of those disorders, the study reports that atrial fibrillation the most common, but others included things like hearts that beat too fast or too slow. The study notes that all of these patients who had irregular heart rhythms also had other health conditions, though the researchers accounted for potentially influencing factors like age and diseases like diabetes.

After crunching the numbers, the study found that the cannabis users who had a heart rhythm disorder were 4.5 times more likely to die while in the hospital compared to cannabis users who didn’t have any heartbeat disorders. Likewise, these patients were more likely to stay in the hospital longer.

The study’s author Dr. Sittinun Thangjui explained:

Our study highlights that heart rhythm disorders may be a warning sign for an increased risk of death in people who use cannabis. More studies are needed to confirm our results. In the meantime, it seems sensible to screen these patients for arrhythmias if they present to hospital so that those with a heart rhythm problem can be closely monitored.


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