Cannabis users are twice as likely to suffer from “Broken Heart Syndrome”, a rare condition which mimics heart attack symptoms, a study has found.
The syndrome, also known as stress cardiomyopathy, is a sudden, usually temporary weakening of the heart muscle.
It reduces the heart’s ability to pump blood, leading to chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness and sometimes fainting.
Researchers also found that cannabis users are significantly more likely to go into cardiac arrest (2.4% vs. 0.8%) during stress cardiomyopathy than non-users.
Despite being younger and having fewer risk factors, like high blood pressure, the users were also more likely to need correction to abnormal heart rhythms.
Dr Amitoj Singh, study co-author and chief cardiology fellow at St Luke’s University Health Network in Pennsyvania said:
“The effects of marijuana, especially on the cardiovascular system, are not well known yet.
“With its increasing availability and legalization in some states, people need to know that marijuana may be harmful to the heart and blood vessels in some people.”
Singh suggested that cannabis users who develop symptoms such as chest pain and shortness of breath should seek medical attention.
The research was presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2016.