Study: Cannabis Use Not Associated With Elevated Risk of Atrial Fibrillation

Middle-aged adults with a history of cannabis consumption do not possess an increased risk of suffering from atrial fibrillation (AFib), according to longitudinal data published in the journal Heart Rhythm.

Investigators affiliated with the University of California, San Francisco assessed the relationship between cannabis and AFib (irregular heartbeat) in a cohort of more than 150,000 subjects between the ages of 40 and 69. The cohort included non-users, occasional users, and frequent users. Researchers tracked the study’s participants for six years.

Researchers found “no evidence” that subjects who used cannabis were more likely than non-users to suffer from atrial fibrillation.

“Among a large, prospective cohort, we were unable to find evidence that occasional cannabis use [defined as more than 100 times] was associated with a higher risk of incident AF,” the study’s authors concluded. “To our knowledge, this is the first longitudinal cohort study to assess such recreational use and the first to report an absence of a relationship between cannabis use and risk of AF.”

AFib is associated with an increased risk of stroke and other adverse cardiovascular events.

Data published in October reported that middle-aged cannabis consumers do not possess an elevated risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) as compared to never users. The findings of a meta-analysis published in May concluded, “Cannabis use insignificantly predicts all major cardiovascular adverse events,” including myocardial infarction and stroke. By contrast, data published recently in the journal Addiction reported that adults engaged in problematic cannabis use possess an elevated risk of adverse cardiovascular outcomes.

Full text of the study, “Cannabis use and incident of atrial fibrillation in a longitudinal cohort,” appears in Heart Rhythm.

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