Current cannabis use is associated with lower resting heart rate, according to data published in The American Journal of Medicine.

A team of researchers from Switzerland and the United States assessed the relationship between cannabis exposure and heart rate in a cohort of middle-aged adults. Subjects in the study were participants in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study – which is a multi-decade assessment of cardiovascular health. Previous findings from the CARDIA sample have failed to link the use of cannabis – even long-term – with an elevated risk of either atherosclerosishigh blood pressureECG abnormalities, or other serious cardiovascular events at middle age. 

Researchers reported that subjects who occasionally consumed cannabis (defined as five times or more per month) possessed a lower resting heart rate than did non-users, including those who were former marijuana consumers.

“Current cannabis use was associated with lower resting heart rate, but cumulative cannabis exposure was not,” they reported. “Our findings align with epidemiological research on thousands of participants from Europe and the USA that found no association between cannabis and cardiovascular disease, mortality, or surrogate outcomes.”

Authors concluded: “Current cannabis use was associated with lower resting heart rate, which supports findings from experimental studies. … Past cumulative exposure to cannabis was not associated with heart rate, indicating the effects of cannabis exposure on heart rate are transient. Our 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.”

Full text of the study, “Association between current and cumulative cannabis use and heart rate: The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study,” appears in The American Journal of Medicine.

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