Interactions between Marijuana and Heart Medication

A female doctor holds a small heart with a cannabis leaf on it

Interactions between Marijuana and Heart Medication

Cannabis, meaning the type of plants that contain the psychoactive THC component are generally considered safe for consumer use, however, there are many conditions that require a doctor’s visit before consuming cannabis. Those with existing heart conditions or a family history of heart conditions should consult a physician before using Marijuana and heart medication can lead to complications. 

Common heart medications can interact poorly with cannabis and CBD. It’s important to understand the types of heart conditions that exist and which heart medications may have adverse interactions with cannabis use.

Common Heart Conditions and Medications

Common-Heart-Conditions

The heart, which pumps blood and delivers vital oxygen to the body’s organs and muscles, has a critical role in the system. Without oxygen the brain can die in as little as 5 minutes. 

While the full list of heart conditions is long, here are some of the most common heart conditions

  • Coronary artery disease – a narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the heart, this condition causes decreased oxygen to the heart and can cause arrhythmias and heart failure. 
  • Arrhythmia – more commonly known as an irregular heart beat, arhythmia describes the heart beating faster, slower or erratically.
  • Myocardial infarction – most commonly known as a heart attack, is an interruption of blood flow to the heart that can cause the tissue to die.
  • Heart failure – when the heart is not working as expected, but is still functioning. Heart failure can be life threatening.

Heart conditions can bring on strong and concerning symptoms like chest pain, difficulty breathing, fatigue and swelling. If you’re ever experiencing any of the symptoms above, you should seek emergency care.

Medications for Heart Conditions

A variety of medications exist to help treat heart conditions. The most common medications include: 

  • Statins – designed to lower LDL cholesterol, these are designed to prevent an obstruction in the arteries. Some common statin prescriptions include:
    • Atorvastatin (Lipitor),
    • Fluvastatin (Lescol, Lescol XL),
    • Lovastatin (Mevacor, Altoprev),
    • Pravastatin (Pravachol),
    • Rosuvastatin (Crestor),
    • Simvastatin (Zocor), and
    • Pitavastatin (Livalo)
  • Blood clot prevention – there are a variety of drugs that are used to reduce the risk of blood clots. Some well-known medications include: 
    • Aspirin
    • Clopidogrel
    • Warfarin
  • Beta-blockers – used to block adrenaline, beta-blockers are most commonly used for angina, heart attack, congestive heart failure, and abnormal heart rhythms.  Some common beta-blockers prescriptions include:
    • Acebutolol (Sectral)
    • Atenolol (Tenormin)
    • Bisoprolol (Zebeta)
    • Metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL)
    • Nadolol (Corgard)
    • Nebivolol (Bystolic)
    • Propranolol (Inderal, InnoPran XL)
  • ACE inhibitors – used to treat heart failure and to lower blood pressure, ACE stands for angiotensin-converting enzyme. Angiotensin is the hormone responsible for artery constriction. Some common ACE inhibitor prescriptions include:
    • Benazepril (Lotensin)
    • Captopril
    • Enalapril (Vasotec)
    • Fosinopril
    • Lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril)
    • Moexipril
    • Perindopril
    • Quinapril (Accupril)
    • Ramipril (Altace)
    • Trandolapril

Cannabis and Effects on the Heart

heart-blockages

Cannabis consumption and its effects on the heart have not been studied extensively due to cannabis being a Schedule I controlled substance; however, studies by the National Institute of Health have shown an increase in blood pressure, myocardial infarction (MI), and arrhythmias. 

The study found that cannabis consumption can cause arrhythmia, ventricular tachycardia, and the potential of sudden death. These risks were compounded by cigarette smoking and excessive physical activity within the first few hours of consumption. For this reason, anyone with heart conditions should speak to a doctor before using cannabis.

Known Marijuana and Heart Medication Interactions

  • Statins: as mentioned above, there have not been interactions identified with statins and cannabis use.
  • Blood Thinners – cannabis may increase blood levels and reduce the effects of warfarin.
  • Beta-blockers: all of the commonly used medications for beta-blockers may lower blood pressure when combined with cannabis leading to a feeling of headache, dizziness, fainting or changes in heart rate.
  • ACE-inhibitors: similar to beta-blockers, commonly used medications for ACE-inhibitors may lower blood pressure when combined with cannabis.  

Can CBD Help?

Cannabidiol or CBD has no psychoactive effects on the body. Studies have shown that CBD may help with heart arrhythmias and improve blood pressure and blood flow in lab animals. CBD has also been shown to reduce the size of blockages in some cases.

Known Heart Medication Interactions with CBD

While CBD is generally considered safe, there are known drug interactions that can occur with the use of CBD and some heart medications:

  • Warfarin – a common blood thinner
  • Amiodarone – a heart rhythm medication
  • Statin – designed to reduce cholesterol levels

Consult a Doctor about Marijuana and Heart Medication Safety

mmj-doctor

Drug interactions with cannabis, especially those that interfere with life-saving cardiology medications, can be difficult to navigate. Don’t take any risks, consult a physician that specializes in alternative treatments about your medical history and cannabis use. Heally makes it easy to connect doctors and patients through our telehealth platform. Schedule your appointment today.

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