E-cigarettes and marijuana can impact the heart like traditional cigarettes, new study finds

E-cigarettes and marijuana can impact the heart like traditional cigarettes, new study finds

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – A new study by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco has found evidence that e-cigarettes and marijuana have harmful effects on the heart similar to the negative effects of traditional tobacco cigarettes.

Nicotine vapes and cannabis products have become popular in recent years because the public perceives them to be less harmful than smoking, the researchers explained. But the new findings shed light on the health risks of these seemingly “safer” substances.

The health effects of vapes, marijuana joints and cigarettes all open the door to abnormal heart rhythms, according to a new study published Tuesday in the journal Heart Rhythm.

“We found that cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and marijuana greatly interfere with the electrical activity, structure, and neural regulation of the heart,” said lead author Dr. Huiliang Qiu, postdoctoral researcher at the Division of Cardiology from UCSF. Release. “Often a single change can lead to an arrhythmia. Unfortunately, these side effects on the heart are pretty comprehensive.

To function well, the researchers explained that the heart must pump blood efficiently and at the right time. This vital organ has its own electrical control system through our nerves. If one part of the heart is not handling these electrical signals properly, it can cause other regions of the organ to act asynchronously, meaning they will fight against each other rather than functioning as one. efficient pump.

This can lead to life-threatening arrhythmias, researchers say.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note already that marijuana can make the heart beat faster and raise blood pressure. It can also lead to an increased risk of stroke, heart disease, or other vascular diseases.

The purpose of the UCSF study was to determine whether the use of new tobacco or marijuana products can cause the development of a proarrhythmic substrate and possibly lead to arrhythmias.

The study describes its methodology: “Rats were exposed to tobacco smoke; marijuana or marijuana depleted in cannabinoids; aerosols from electronic cigarettes or heated tobacco products; or to purify the air once a day for 8 weeks. Rats exposed to tobacco or marijuana products showed a progressive increase in systolic blood pressure, a decrease in cardiac systolic function with chamber dilation, and a decrease in overall heart rate variability, compared to the group negative control in pure air.

“It is remarkable that all of these tobacco and marijuana products have similar effects. And what’s really striking is that it was caused by just one realistic smoking/vaping session per day,” said lead author Matthew Springer, PhD, professor of cardiology at UCSF.

“The bottom line is that e-cigarettes, IQOS, and marijuana cigarettes still involve many of the potential harmful effects of smoking tobacco,” Springer said, “None of these products should be considered harmless substitutes for smoking. “

He added that while these findings are consistent with previous research regarding heart rhythm disturbances in marijuana and e-cigarette users, there are limitations to the findings. Springer points to the rats used for this study, calling them a “good model” but noting “definite conclusions about effects in humans cannot be drawn from rat studies alone.”

The study was funded by the California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program, American Heart Association, FDA Center for Tobacco Products, National Institutes of Heart and other partners.

A similar study published on Tuesday found that people who smoked marijuana were more likely to have specific types of lung damage than those who smoked cigarettes, ABC News reports.

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