Last year, after filming his new comedy special “Silent But Deadly”, Kevin Smith (Silent Bob) suffered a major heart attack. He didn’t panic given the circumstance because…well, he was high. As Smith relayed on “The Late Show”, doctors told him that cannabis potentially saved his life. “I honestly thought I was too high.” But, to his surprise, his doctor said the weed saved his life by keeping him calm.
While most of us laughed off the late-night anecdote, a new study from doctors at the University of Colorado has demonstrated there may be some scientific truth to that assumption. Researchers reviewed 1,273,897 hospital records of heart-related emergencies. Among those records, 3,854 patients were cannabis consumers.
Cannabis users had decreased risk of death, shock and having to insert a balloon into a blocked artery.
“Perhaps the most striking finding of our study is that marijuana use prior to AMI was associated with decreased in-hospital mortality post AMI,” the study’s authors wrote.
The researchers didn’t have exactly clear answers as to why this was, but did offer some suggestions. One theory is “marijuana use may have provided a cardioprotective effect to users,” thanks to activation of CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system. The study’s authors pointed to different cannabis research,which found that cannabis use could increase blood flow, which resulted in lowering the risk of strokes.
That said, it’s not all good news for pot smokers. Cannabis consumers could be more at risk for “smaller, non-fatal” heart attacks. According to the data, the marijuana users who suffered a heart attack were on average 10 years younger than non-cannabis users.
Neither suggestion is conclusive, which is why researchers called for more work to be done related AMIs and cannabis consumers. Overall though, they concluded that “marijuana use reported during hospitalization for AMI was associated with a significantly decreased risk of in-hospital mortality.”