Cardiovascular Effects of Marihuana and Cannabinoids

  • Renaud Trouve
  • Gabriel Nahas


In the isolated heart THC produces a biphasic effect on heart rate with an initial increase followed by a decrease. THC also decreases coronary flow and cardiac contractile force. The depressant effect of THC on cardiac contraction and coronary flow is antagonized by CBD and by Ca2+ antagonists. In humans, THC and marihuana induce increases in heart rate and blood pressure. In the supine position, postural hypotension is observed because of the peripheral vasodilation produced by the drug. THC produces a deregulation of the baroreflex. In dogs, cats, and rats, THC produces hypotension and bradycardia, indicating a predominance of the interaction of the parasympathetic outflow by THC in these animals. Marihuana smoking increases coronary insufficiency in patients with ischemic cardiac disease. Self-administration of cocaine before exercise will result in an increase in the tachycardia and a decreased efficiency. Marihuana smoking and THC have no therapeutic cardiac properties and are contraindicated in patients with coronary problems.


Cardiovascular Effect Coronary Flow Marijuana Smoking Coronary Problem Parasympathetic Outflow 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

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  • Renaud Trouve
  • Gabriel Nahas

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