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Cannabis and effects on the heart

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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  • cannabis use produces a fast heart rate at low doses, but larger doses can slow the heart and lower blood pressure
  • sudden death has been reported in cannabis users without evidence of coronary heart disease (2), while death from a heart attack is 4-fold higher within the hour following cannabis use (3).
  • tobacco smoking is associated with an excess of 35,000 deaths in Britain from diseases of the heart and circulation.However, it is unclear as to whether cannabis smoking contributes to coronary heart disease in the same way as cigarette smoking does (4)


  1. British Heart Foundation (6/2003). Factfile - Illicit drugs and the heart.
  2. Bachs L, Moorland H. Acute cardiovascular fatalities following cannabis use. Forensic Sci Int 2001;124:200-3.
  3. Circulation. 2001 Jun 12;103(23):2805-9
  4. BMJ. 2003 May 3;326(7396):942-3.

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