Substances of abuse and cardiovascular risk: cannabinoids

G Ital Cardiol (Rome). 2023 Jun;24(6):455-465. doi: 10.1714/4041.40205.


Progressive legalization for medical conditions or recreational use has led to an increased use of cannabis and synthetic cannabinoids over the past years. Most consumers are young and healthy, without cardiovascular risk factors; however, this population is expected to include older individuals. Thus, concerns have arisen about safety and short- and long-term potential adverse effects, with special emphasis on vulnerable groups. Studies show that cannabis might be linked with thrombosis, inflammation, and atherosclerosis, and many reports have associated cannabis and synthetic cannabinoids use with serious adverse cardiovascular complications, including myocardial infarction, cardiomyopathy, arrhythmias, stroke, and cardiac arrest. A clearly defined causal role cannot be demonstrated, because of confounding variables. Physicians need to become aware of the possible spectrum of clinical presentations, not only for timely diagnosis and treatment, but also for effective counseling and prevention.In this review, we aim to provide a basic understanding of the physiological effects of cannabis, the role of the endocannabinoid system in cardiovascular disease, and the cardiovascular consequences of cannabis and synthetic cannabinoid use, including a comprehensive review of the studies and case reports that provide supportive evidence for cannabis as a trigger of adverse cardiovascular events according to the current literature.

PMID:37227205 | DOI:10.1714/4041.40205