A new study suggests that regular consumers of cannabis may develop a slightly different heart shape as well as a few other irregularities with the vital organ.
According to Newsweek, the study interviewed and assessed the scans of 3,407 participants. They looked at people who said that they have never consumed cannabis, people who typically partake of the herb less than once a month and current regular users.
Those who consume cannabis regularly appeared to have a larger left ventricle, the main pumping chamber of the heart, and also some early signs of impairment of heart function compared to those who rarely or never use cannabis.
Still, it was difficult to tell whether this was incidental, as there were no differences between the mass of the left ventricle, the amount of blood ejected with each heartbeat, or the size and function of the other three chambers of the heart.
The researchers admitted the information should be treated with caution, as more research needs to be done on the subject.
“Health care professionals and policy makers may need to advise caution on regular recreational cannabis use until such systematic research is available,” researchers wrote in the study. “However, regular users of cannabis may wish to reduce their intake until further systematic research becomes available which will hopefully provide further insight on the long-term effects of recreational cannabis use.”
Lead author Dr. Mohammed Khanji, senior clinical lecturer at Queen Mary, University of London in the U.K., stated, “Although a lot of research has been published on the effects of smoking cigarettes, much less is known about the effects of recreational cannabis use.”
This study is among the first research of its kind. In the past, a man’s heart arrhythmia was wrongfully blamed on cannabis, and a woman has even been denied a heart transplant because of her use of cannabis. Finally, we may have a better understanding of how cannabis really does impact heart health.