Role of cannabis in cardiovascular disorders
The growing popularity of medical and recreational consumption of cannabis, especially among the youth, raises immediate concerns regarding its safety and long-terms effects. The cardiovascular effects of cannabis are not well known. Cannabis consumption has been shown to cause arrhythmia including ventricular tachycardia, and potentially sudden death, and to increase the risk of myocardial infarction (MI). These effects appear to be compounded by cigarette smoking and precipitated by excessive physical activity, especially during the first few hours of consumption. Cannabinoids, or the active compounds of cannabis, have been shown to have heterogeneous effects on central and peripheral circulation. Acute cannabis consumption has been shown to cause an increase in blood pressure, specifically systolic blood pressure (SBP), and orthostatic hypotension. Cannabis use has been reported to increase risk of ischemic stroke, particularly in the healthy young patients. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is currently considered as a promising therapeutic target in the management of several disease conditions. Synthetic cannabinoids (SCs) are being increasingly investigated for their therapeutic effects; however, the value of their benefits over possible complications remains controversial. Despite the considerable research in this field, the benefits of cannabis and its synthetic derivatives remains questionable even in the face of an increasingly tolerating attitude towards recreational consumption and promotion of the therapeutic complications. More efforts are needed to increase awareness among the public, especially youth, about the cardiovascular risks associated with cannabis use and to disseminate the accumulated knowledge regarding its ill effects.