Cannabis Use: Signal of Increasing Risk of Serious Cardiovascular Disorders
Background Cannabis is known to be associated with neuropsychiatric problems, but less is known about complications affecting other specified body systems. We report and analyze 35 recent remarkable cardiovascular complications following cannabis use.
Methods and Results In France, serious cases of abuse and dependence in response to the use of psychoactive substances must be reported to the national system of the French Addictovigilance Network. We identified all spontaneous reports of cardiovascular complications related to cannabis use collected by the French Addictovigilance Network from 2006 to 2010. We described the clinical characteristics of these cases and their evolution: 1.8% of all cannabis-related reports (35/1979) were cardiovascular complications, with patients being mostly men (85.7%) and of an average age of 34.3 years. There were 22 cardiac complications (20 acute coronary syndromes), 10 peripheral complications (lower limb or juvenile arteriopathies and Buerger-like diseases), and 3 cerebral complications (acute cerebral angiopathy, transient cortical blindness, and spasm of cerebral artery). In 9 cases, the event led to patient death.
Conclusions Increased reporting of cardiovascular complications related to cannabis and their extreme seriousness (with a death rate of 25.6%) indicate cannabis as a possible risk factor for cardiovascular disease in young adults, in line with previous findings. Given that cannabis is perceived to be harmless by the general public and that legalization of its use is debated, data concerning its danger must be widely disseminated. Practitioners should be aware that cannabis may be a potential triggering factor for cardiovascular complications in young people.