(HealthDay News) — For patients with chronic pain, medical cannabis use is associated with an increased risk for new-onset arrhythmia, according to a study published online in the European Heart Journal.
Anders Holt, MD, from Copenhagen University Hospital — Herlev and Gentofte in Denmark, and colleagues used nationwide Danish registers to examine the safety of prescribed medical cannabis in terms of cardiovascular side effects. Patients with chronic pain initiating first-time treatment with medical cannabis during 2018 to 2021 were matched to control patients on age, sex, chronic pain diagnosis, and concomitant use of other pain medications in a 1:5 ratio.
Of 1.88 million patients with chronic pain, 5391 claimed a prescription of medical cannabis and were compared to 26,941 control patients. The researchers observed arrhythmia within 180 days in 42 and 107 individuals in the medical cannabis and control groups, respectively. Compared with no use, medical cannabis use was associated with an increased risk for new-onset arrhythmia (180-day absolute risk, 0.8% vs 0.4%; risk ratio, 2.07). There was no significant association seen for acute coronary syndrome.
“Despite the observational nature of these findings, any knowledge on cardiovascular risk following medical cannabis use is vital for any physician prescribing medical cannabis, a position more and more physicians will likely find themselves in,” the authors write.
Several authors disclosed ties to the pharmaceutical industry.