Use Of Drugs Including Marijuana, Meth, and Cocaine Can Cause Dangerous A-Fib.

According to a recent study, marijuana use raises the incidence of atrial fibrillation (a-fib), a heart rhythm condition.

Weed can raise the risk of developing an irregular heart rhythm by 35%, according to studies. It has long been recognised that substances like methamphetamine, cocaine, and opiates can directly damage the heart and induce aberrant rhythms like a-fib.

According to main researcher Dr. Gregory Marcus, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, “there is a prevalent idea that cannabis may be helpful since it is ‘natural. However, as regulations that prohibit the use of these substances become increasingly lax, it’s critical to recognise the negative effects that could have a significant negative impact on users’ life.

This study suggests that drug users may be more susceptible to developing a-fib, although it does not establish this.

These findings are convincing enough to advise cannabis users who have atrial fibrillation to at least try quitting to determine if it has any real effects on their specific arrhythmia, according to Marcus. “I find that patients are frequently extremely keen to identify anything they may do to prevent subsequent episodes once they have experienced an episode of atrial fibrillation,” says the author.

According to him, A-fib lowers quality of life and raises the risk of dementia, heart attack, kidney disease, heart failure, and stroke.

“We used to think that an atrial fibrillation diagnosis was just bad luck, but now we see that this common and occasionally fatal illness may actually be prevented, mostly with lifestyle measures like cutting back on alcohol use or increasing physical activity,” Marcus added. “Although there are many therapies available, it is always preferable to prevent the disease in the first place.”

Even after correcting for a number of known risk factors for the condition, methamphetamine, cocaine, opiates, and cannabis usage were each linked to an increased risk for a-fib in the study.

Methamphetamine elevated the chance of a-fib by 86%, according to study. The risk increased by 61% for cocaine and by 74% for opiates.

According to Marcus, inhaling combustible substances is known to cause an inflammatory reaction, and acute inflammation increases the likelihood of an a-fib. Additionally, the left atrium of the heart and the pulmonary veins, which are where a-fib starts, receive direct blood flow from the lungs. As a result, lung irritants like marijuana smoke may worsen cardiac regions that are already predisposed to arrhythmia.

Marcus noticed that the relationship between the nervous system and the heart can be significantly impacted by all of the medications under investigation. He said that using these medications causes rapid fluctuations, which can lead to atrial fibrillation.

A-fib is an irregular heartbeat brought on by electrical disruptions in the atria, the upper chambers of the heart. Strokes can occur when clots form in the atria and then separate and enter the bloodstream under extreme circumstances. A-fib-related strokes kill more than 150,000 Americans each year.

In addition, the electrical signalling and pumping in the ventricles, the heart’s bottom chambers, can be disrupted by cocaine and meth, which can result in sudden cardiac death. However, researchers argued that there is no evidence linking marijuana usage to these fatal arrhythmias.

Numerous variables can cause a-fib, according to Dr. Laurence Epstein, system director of electrophysiology at Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital in Manhasset, New York. As a result, it is difficult to determine which will start an episode.

Epstein, who wasn’t involved in the study, said, “I don’t believe it’s like, oh my God, nobody should ever smoke pot because they’re going to develop a-fib.” “Everyone is unique. We discuss triggers with my atrial fibrillation patients and acknowledge that each person has various triggers.”

According to Epstein, some people may experience an episode that is brought on by coffee, chocolate, or marijuana. He suggested that those who are sensitive to it stay away from it.

Knowing oneself is what I advise patients to do, Epstein added. “Using moderation is crucial. Maybe that’s not for you if you find that every time you get high, your heart starts to race. I’m not sure if that puts you at an elevated risk if you’re not experiencing any problems with it.”

The risk is recognised for the other medications covered in the study, according to Epstein.

He said, “There are other negative things that might cause you to have a cardiac arrest or have an acute heart attack, so it’s not just the chance of a-fib.

The European Heart Journal published the findings on October 18.

Information about

The American Heart Association has further information on atrial fibrillation.

SOURCES: Laurence Epstein, MD, system director of electrophysiology at Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital in Manhasset, New York; Gregory Marcus, MD, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco; European Heart Journal

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