Medical Cannabis for Pain Management Could Be Associated With Cardiovascular Disease, Study Shows

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A recent European study cautions that medical marijuana, employed by patients for chronic pain relief, may lead to abnormal heart rhythms. The research indicates a slightly elevated risk of arrhythmia, characterized by irregular heartbeats. According to findings users using cannabis for pain management should be aware of potential cardiac effects.

Recreational cannabis associated to cardiovascular disease

Research has linked recreational cannabis use to cardiovascular diseases, but there’s limited study on its medical applications. Medical cannabis is authorized for chronic pain treatment in 38 U.S. states and various European countries. Dr. Anders Holt from Copenhagen University Hospital highlights a growing trend of doctors prescribing cannabis, despite insufficient evidence on potential side effects.

Patients with chronic pain shouldn’t dismiss trying medical cannabis if prior treatments were insufficient. However, findings recommend enhanced monitoring, particularly for patients at elevated cardiovascular risk. Overall, caution is advised, but cannabis exploration is not discouraged for chronic pain management.

Researchers examined information from 5,391 Danish patients using medical cannabis for chronic pain and compared it to data from 26,941 chronic pain patients not using cannabis. Results indicate that individuals on medical cannabis had a 0.8% risk of developing arrhythmia requiring monitoring or treatment within 180 days of initiating cannabis use. This risk was more than doubled in comparison to chronic pain patients not using cannabis, with higher risks observed in individuals over 60 and those with pre-existing conditions such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, or diabetes.

Therapeutic efficacy of medical marijuana varies

According to Professor Robert Page from the University of Colorado, the therapeutic effectiveness of medical cannabis may vary for different medical conditions, and its use should be tailored based on individual patient comorbidities and susceptibility to side effects. It is important to note that the study is observational and may not encompass all pertinent factors.

Despite efforts for a balanced comparison, differences between patients prescribed medical cannabis and those not prescribed could impact results, necessitating more research. Replication in various countries is crucial before drawing conclusions. Additionally, investigating links between long-term cannabis use and heart issues, given persistent chronic pain, is essential for clarity and understanding.

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