Preliminary research showed that antioxidants found in soybeans could prevent inflammation and oxidative stress caused by weed.
Previous research has indicated those already predisposed to cardiovascular disease increase their risk of a heart attack when smoking cannabis. Though cannabis is associated with sedative effects, it actually increases your heart’s rate and need for oxygen, which could cause complications if your arteries are clogged. As The Fresh Toast’s Dr. Jordan Tishler previously wrote, “Marijuana can temporarily increase your risk of having a heart attack, particularly if you are elderly or have already been diagnosed with a heart condition.”
But laboratory tests from National Taiwan University scientists discovered that an antioxidant found in soybeans might prevent marijuana-related heart damage. The scientists exposed endothelial cells (like the ones that line blood vessels) to THC, which caused inflammation and oxidative stress in the cells. Such inflammation and stress negatively affect the inner linings of blood vessel and typically are associated with the beginning of heart disease.
When the scientists blocked the cannabinoid receptors in the endothelial cells, it eliminated the negative effect caused by THC exposure. In addition, the researchers found that JW1, an antioxidant in soybeans, similarly blocked the adverse THC effects.
“Previously, a drug that blocked CB1 was approved in Europe for the treatment of obesity, but it had to be withdrawn because of severe psychiatric side effects,” lead author and assistant professor of pharmacology at National Taiwan University Tzu-Tan “Thomas” Wei said in a release. “In contrast, as an antioxidant, JW-1 may have neuroprotective effects. Discovering a new way to protect blood vessels without psychiatric side effects would be clinically important with the rapid growth of cannabis use worldwide.”
These results were presented as preliminary research at the American Heart Association’s Basic Cardiovascular Sciences 2019 Scientific Sessions. To extend their research, the scientists are now testing cells gathered from regular marijuana users and tobacco smokers. The goal of their studies, Wei said, “is to investigate the mechanisms of marijuana-induced damage and discover new drugs to prevent those side effects.”
“Meanwhile, if you have heart disease, talk to your doctor before you use marijuana or one of the synthetic THC-containing medications,” he added. “Marijuana may cause more severe effects on the cardiovascular system in those with pre-existing heart disease.”