Cannabis Associated Cardiovascular Complications Increase

Emilie Jouanjus, PharmD, PhD Risques, maladies chroniques et handicaps Facult_e de M_edecine, Guesde, Toulouse 31073, Interview with:
Emilie Jouanjus, PharmD, PhD
Risques, maladies chroniques et handicaps
Facult_e de M_edecine,
Guesde, Toulouse 31073, France. What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Jouanjus: Our study emphasizes that cardiovascular complications make up 1.8 percent of cannabis-related health complications reported in France. These were cases of peripheral arteriopathies, and cardiac and cerebrovascular disorders, some of which resulted in the death. These findings conducted us to conclude that marijuana is a possible risk factor for cardiovascular disease in young adults. Were any of the results unexpected?

Dr. Jouanjus: In a previous study, we had been stunned to observe several very serious cases of cardiovascular complications in young cannabis users (Jouanjus et al. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 2011: 71; 758-65). With the present work, we were willing to explore at the national level whether such cases were described, and to survey their evolution across time. Cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disorders and peripheral arteriopathies arisen in 34 years old (on average) cannabis users confirmed our fears. Cases were remarkably serious, or even lethal. Moreover, their report has constantly increased, especially during the last three observed years. This result is surprising considering that cardiovascular complications, when toxic cause is suspected, are more commonly attributed by doctors to cocaine or amphetamine use. These results raise concern about the harmful potential of marijuana and its impact on public health, notably because its medicinal use has become more prevalent in particular since some governments are legalizing its use. What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Jouanjus: Cannabis use is commonly thought to be harmless, however, there is now compelling evidence on the growing risk of cannabis-associated adverse cardiovascular effects, especially in the Young. It is therefore important that users as well as clinicians be aware of this. Doctors, including cardiologists, must consider cannabis use as one of the potential causes of cardiovascular disorders. Indeed, exposure to cannabis should be systematically investigated in patients presenting with cardiovascular problems. This should contribute to improve the clinical management of cannabis using patients, as well as prognosis of the pathologies their suffer from. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Jouanjus: The surveillance of cannabis-related reports of cardiovascular disorders needs to be maintained. Furthermore, fundamental experiments would be of interest to ascertain the mechanisms through which cannabis may trigger such cardiovascular disorders, especially since its medicinal use is increasing. Actually, the precise pathways involved are still debated and remain somehow controversial. Their elucidation would help in understanding how harmful cannabis may be, in particular in young people. The return expected concerns prevention and therapeutics, with meaningful impact towards public health.


Cannabis Use: Signal of Increasing Risk of Serious Cardiovascular Disorders

Emilie Jouanjus, PharmD, PhD; Maryse Lapeyre-Mestre, MD, PhD; Joelle Micallef, MD, PhD; The French Association of the Regional Abuse

and Dependence Monitoring Centres (CEIP-A) Working Group on Cannabis Complications*

Journal of the American Heart Association Journal Report: April 23 2014


Last Updated on April 24, 2014 by Marie Benz MD FAAD