JUL 12, 2021 8:15 AM PDT

How does CBD Affect Heart Arrhythmia?

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Heart arrhythmias happen when the heart beats too fast, too slow, or irregularly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 12.1 million people in the US will have the condition by 2030. With cannabis use increasing, and especially cannabidiol (CBD) use, how does CBD affect heart arrhythmia?

Due to federal restrictions on cannabis, research investigating cannabis and cannabinoids’ effects on health are limited. Nevertheless, there has been some preliminary research into their effects on the heart and overall health, which point towards furture research directions and may offer clues on how cannabis affects certain conditions. 

At present, many studies investigating how CBD may impact arrhythmia are based on animals. For example, one study found that rats given CBD before having their blood supply restricted had fewer arrhythmias and cardiovascular blockages than those who were not given CBD. However, although seemingly helpful in rats, it remains unknown whether these results will translate over to humans. 

In the meantime, some studies have shown a correlation between heart rhythm issues and cannabis usage. One study conducted in 2021, for example, found that people hospitalized for cannabis use disorders were more likely to have heart arrhythmias than those without. Important to note, however, is that this study looked at cannabis use- not just CBD, meaning that other compounds may have been responsible for this link. 

Moreover, the quantities of cannabinoids used by people in this study may not reflect doses that could have potential healing effects. Also important to note is that the study established no causal relationship between cannabis use and heart arrhythmias. As such, any inferences from the study should be taken with caution. 

To conclude, while there is some early evidence that CBD may be helpful for those with heart arrhythmia, further research is needed. This comes especially as most studies until now have only looked at the compound’s effects on animals and as epidemiological studies are inconclusive on a link between CBD and heart arrhythmia.

 

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Medical News TodayBritish Pharmacological SocietyBritish Journal of PharmacologyEP Europace

About the Author
University College London
Annie Lennon is a writer whose work also appears in Medical News Today, Psych Central, Psychology Today, and other outlets. When she's not writing, she is COO of Xeurix, an HR startup that assesses jobfit from gamified workplace simulations.
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