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Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry

Eiditor-in-Chief

ISSN (Print): 1389-5575
ISSN (Online): 1875-5607

Review Article

Cannabis Associated “High” Cardiovascular Morbidity and Mortality: Marijuana Smoke Like Tobacco Smoke? A Déjà Vu/Déjà Vécu Story?

Author(s): Theodora A. Manolis, Antonis A. Manolis and Antonis S. Manolis*

Volume 19 , Issue 11 , 2019

Page: [870 - 879] Pages: 10

DOI: 10.2174/1389557518666181114113947

Price: $58

Abstract

Background: Cannabis use has increased over the past several years as some countries have legalized its use for the treatment of certain medical conditions and/or for recreational use. Thus, concerns have risen about potential adverse health effects. Increasing number of reports have associated cannabis use with serious cardiovascular (CV) complications. Furthermore, there appears to be a likeness in the harmful health effects, especially on the CV and respiratory systems, of cannabis smoking to those of tobacco smoking.

Objective: To review the CV effects of cannabis use and compare them with those of tobacco use.

Methods: Articles were reviewed that were published in English literature reporting on cannabis and cannabinoid pharmacology and their effects on the CV system and their consequences. Emphasis was also placed on articles reporting on cannabis use in adolescents, exposure to secondhand smoke, its effect on exercise and finally its inter-relationship and similarities with tobacco use.

Results: With growing cannabis use, an increasing number of reports have emerged associating marijuana use with serious and life-threatening CV complications, including acute coronary syndromes, potentially lethal cardiac arrhythmias and ischemic strokes. There are certain similarities of the deleterious CV and respiratory effects of cannabis smoking with those of tobacco smoking. Despite the difference in the active ingredients (tetrahydrocannabinol vs. nicotine), each substance produces a plethora of chemicals when smoked and these are largely identical; furthermore, due to different modes of smoking, cannabis chemicals are retained in the body for a longer time. Of course, concomitant tobacco and cannabis smoking is a perplexing factor in isolating damages specifically pertaining to cannabis use, while the health risk is additive. Although the mechanisms producing CV harm may be somewhat different between these two substances, the outcome appears similar, or even worse, as the effects may emerge at a younger age.

Conclusion: There is an increasing concern that, apart from the mental health problem with cannabis smoking, societies may be facing another wave of a déjà vu/déjà vécu phenomenon similar to the tobacco smoking story.

Keywords: Acute coronary syndromes, cannabinoids, cannabis, cardiovascular disease, CB1/CB2 receptors, marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol, cardiac arrhythmias.

Graphical Abstract
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