Research Shows Cannabis Use Linked with Lower Resting Heart Rate

Cannabis Research Resting Heart Rate - GCI Content Hub - Global Cannabis Intelligence

Research published in The American Journal of Medicine studied the relationship between cannabis use and heart rate.

The study’s subjects were recruited from the CARDIA (Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults) research sample, a longitudinal study assessing cardiovascular health. Over 5000 participants aged between 18 and 30 were followed from four US study sites over 30 years.

The research is pertinent because resting heart rate is a predicting factor of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), which are the leading cause of mortality. Almost 18 million people died from CVDs in 2019, accounting for 32% of deaths globally.

Heart rate increases with tobacco smoking, although the relationship between cannabis use and heart rate is unclear. Further, recent findings exploring the harms of cannabis on lung health showed that cannabis use does not mirror the harms of tobacco.

What do the results show?

Subjects consuming cannabis occasionally – five times or more a month – had a lower resting heart rate than non-users. Conversely, current tobacco consumption was associated with higher resting heart rate. This finding only applied to current use, as previous cumulative exposure to cannabis and tobacco were not associated with heart rate.

Study methods did not distinguish between ingestion or smoking.

The results affirm previous conclusions drawn from the CARDIA sample, which failed to link short or long-term cannabis use with an elevated risk of experiencing serious cardiovascular events, such as atherosclerosis or high blood pressure at middle-age.

Study authors write that the findings “add to the growing body of evidence suggesting a lack of deleterious association of cannabis use at a level typical of the general population on surrogate outcomes of cardiovascular disease.”

Research findings such as this are demystifying the impact of cannabis consumption on human health, providing a comprehensive knowledge base from which to reframe legal and public health policies regarding medical cannabis use globally.

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