When it comes right down to it, cannabis has tons of medicinal uses – and there are probably hundreds more that we are not even yet aware of because studies on the plant are so limited. However, this doesn’t stop many researchers from trying to learn all they can with the data that is available. Thanks to a specific group of researchers at the University of Colorado, we now know there could potentially be a link between cannabis use and an increased chance of surviving a heart attack.
“Perhaps the most striking finding of our study is that marijuana use prior to AMI was associated with decreased in-hospital mortality post AMI,” the study authors wrote.
Researchers used hospital records of patients who suffered heart-related emergencies or acute myocardial infarctions (AMI). The records went back as far as 1994 and spanned almost a decade through 2013 – and of the 1,273,897 patient records, 3,854 admitted to cannabis consumption. Chances are, the actual number of cannabis consumers was higher, but due to marijuana’s illegal status not everyone is as open with their doctor as they should be when it comes to their cannabis use.
Originally, those conducting the study hypothesized that cannabis users would suffer from more negative effects after being admitted to the hospital – but it turned out quite the opposite was true. They found that those who use cannabis were at a decreased risk of going into shock and were less likely to need certain artery surgeries. The study also found that cannabis users were at a decreased risk of dying from complications.
While researchers can’t say for certain why this is the case, they did suggest that it could have to do with the fact that cannabis may increase blood flow. Not only could this be helpful in the event of a heart attack, but it also reduces the risk of the patient having a stroke. It is also entirely possible that cannabis consumers in the study were at risk for less dangerous heart attacks in the first place, since most of the cannabis users were an average of 10 years younger.
Regardless of that possibility, researchers are leaning toward the conclusion that marijuana use is associated with a significant increase in your chances of surviving a heart attack. Considering heart disease contributes to 1-in-3 deaths in the United States, finding any information that could lead to a potential prevention or treatment option is important for thousands. While this finding certainly warrants more study, it seems that cannabis could have the potential to benefit those with heart disease among the dozens of other conditions it can help treat.