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- A man had a heart attack and doctors think it was triggered by a cannabis lollipop.
- The lollipop contained more than 12 times the amount of THC found in a normal joint.
- THC is the chemical that makes you feel high.
- The legalization of cannabis has “considerable public support but also raises public health concerns” the authors of the report said.
- Without proper regulations, people may take products that are too strong for their needs.
Cannabis plants contains hundreds of compounds. Two of the most well known are CBD, which is currently being tested in various trials for its medicinal benefits, and THC, which makes you feel high.
With the legalization of cannabis in Canada and several US states, recreational use is on the rise, and that includes the consumption of products like teas, sweets, and baked edibles. But the experience wasn’t a success for a man who recently tried a cannabis lollipop, as it may have triggered his heart attack.
The medical case, published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, described how a man ate a lollipop that contained more than 12 times the amount of THC of a regular joint. After half an hour, the man experienced “crushing chest pain,” which turned out to be a heart attack.
According to the authors, the strain the THC put on the man’s body may have been the trigger for the heart attack. He also experienced hallucinations and anxiety, which could also have had a negative impact on heart rate, blood pressure, and the level of stress hormones.
“The legalization of cannabis has considerable public support but also raises public health concerns,” said Neal L. Benowitz, the author of an editorial about the case.
“Some users may benefit from the social and medical effects, but others will be at risk for adverse health outcomes.”
Little is known about the use of cannabis in older patients, he added, particularly those who already suffer from cardiovascular problems. The man was 70, and had apparently been taking medicine for heart disease, but hadn’t had a problem in two years.
“For better or worse, providing advice and care to such patients who are using cannabis is now necessary for the provision of optimal medical care to these patients,” Benowitz said.
Alexandra Saunders, lead author of the report, said marijuana is useful for many patients, especially for pain and nausea relief, but “at the same time, like all other medications, it does carry risk and side effects.”
In an article with Business Insider, founder of CBD retailer CBD420 Jonas Duclos said the legislation around cannabis has a way to go. Even though it is legal in many places, the regulations differ from state to state and country to country.
With the right regulations and education around it, cannabis could be safe for everyone, he said. He compared it to how people would make moonshine during prohibition in the US, and were dying from drinking a bad, unregulated product.
For example, some dealers lace their cannabis products with chemicals to boost the levels of THC, because the aim is to get you incredibly high.
“For the industry to be able to educate, we need to have a better understanding, and regulations that enable the industry to sell clean products with full transparency,” Duclos said. “And it’s just impossible today to do it perfectly, as we’re evolving in those grey areas in all those different countries.”
Many people use cannabis products for medicinal benefits, he added, but it can be a bit of a mess trying to work out what those positive effects really are, when people use such a wide range of products with different strengths.
Good regulation for cannabis is the only way to ensure people get a clean product, he said. And solid regulations also mean further developments and more research, so people can make better informed decisions about the products they decide to try.