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Study finds combining cannabis and an irregular heartbeat can be deadly

People suffering from heart rhythm disorders should reconsider the use of marijuana products, according to a new study published by the European Society of Cardiology. The research involved data on millions of people in the United States, finding that cannabis users who also had an irregular heartbeat were much more likely to die during hospitalization compared to people with a regular heart rate.

The study was based on data from the National Inpatient Sample database, a vast treasure trove of information that covers the majority of the population. The data used for this research were about 2.5 million adults who were admitted to hospitals from 2016 to 2018; they all reported cannabis use and 7.6 percent of them also had a heart rhythm disorder.

Of these diseases, the study reports that atrial fibrillation is the most common, but others include things like hearts that beat too fast or too slowly. The study notes that all of these patients who had an irregular heart rhythm also had other health problems, although the researchers considered factors of potential influence such as age and diseases such as diabetes.

After analyzing the numbers, the study found that cannabis users who had heart rhythm disorders were 4.5 times more likely to die in the hospital compared to cannabis users who had no heart beat disorders. Likewise, these patients were more likely to stay in the hospital for longer.

The study’s author, Dr. Sittinun Thangjui, explained:

Our study highlights that heart rhythm disorders may be a warning sign for an increased risk of death in people who use cannabis. More studies are needed to confirm our results. In the meantime, it seems sensible to screen these patients for arrhythmias if they present to hospital so that those with a heart rhythm problem can be closely monitored.

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