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The authors of this American Heart Association scientific statement review the use of medicinal and recreational cannabis both for medicinal and recreational purposes, which has expanded over the last 2 decades. Cannabis has little benefit for the cardiovascular system but many of the adverse effects include cardiovascular disease. The authors review the safety and efficacy of cannabis for a variety of indications as well as for recreation while also considering the policy and public health perspective.
Further research is urgently needed to provide high-quality evidence regarding the risks and benefits of cannabis to inform both members of the public and policy.
This abstract is available on the publisher's site.
Cannabis, or marijuana, has potential therapeutic and medicinal properties related to multiple compounds, particularly Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol. Over the past 25 years, attitudes toward cannabis have evolved rapidly, with expanding legalization of medical and recreational use at the state level in the United States and recreational use nationally in Canada and Uruguay. As a result, the consumption of cannabis products is increasing considerably, particularly among youth. Our understanding of the safety and efficacy of cannabis has been limited by decades of worldwide illegality and continues to be limited in the United States by the ongoing classification of cannabis as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. These shifts in cannabis use require clinicians to understand conflicting laws, health implications, and therapeutic possibilities. Cannabis may have therapeutic benefits, but few are cardiovascular in nature. Conversely, many of the concerning health implications of cannabis include cardiovascular diseases, although they may be mediated by mechanisms of delivery. This statement critically reviews the use of medicinal and recreational cannabis from a clinical but also a policy and public health perspective by evaluating its safety and efficacy profile, particularly in relationship to cardiovascular health.