Doctors Warn Cannabis May Interact With Certain Heart Medications

A review of research published this week is leading doctors to warn that the use of cannabis may interact with medications used to treat cardiovascular disease. The review was published online by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology on Monday.

Dr. Muthiah Vaduganathan, a cardiologist at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and a lead author of the study, says that using marijuana can affect the efficacy of some medications used to treat cardiovascular disease, including statins and blood thinners. Because these drugs and cannabis are broken down in the liver by the same enzymes, marijuana use can increase the time they stay in the body, effectively increasing the dose.

For example, one study published last year found that using cannabis can interact with the effectiveness of the popular blood thinner warfarin. Patients who are using the drug may need to reduce the dose by as much as 30% to avoid excessive bleeding. Marijuana can also increase the potency of statins, potentially causing a dangerous drop in blood pressure. Vaduganathan advises patients to discuss their marijuana use with their doctors.

“The first step is having an open discussion with clinicians, because it does influence some parts of

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