Last year, after filming his new comedy special “Silent But Deadly”, Kevin Smith suffered a major heart attack. He stayed calm and cool under the circumstance because he was…well, Kevin Smith was high. As Smith relayed on “The Late Show”, doctors told him that marijuana potentially saved his life.
At the time, most of us laughed it off as another charming anecdote from a late-night guest. But a new study from doctors at the University of Colorado demonstrate there may be some scientific truth to that assumption. Researchers pored over 1,273,897 hospital records of heart-related emergencies, or Acute Myocardial Infarctions (AMI). Among those records included 3,854 patients that were cannabis consumers.
While scientists assumed those cannabis users would have more negative reactions following hospitalization, the opposite was true. Cannabis users had decreased risk of death, shock, and having to insert a balloon into a blocked artery.
“Perhaps the most striking finding of our study is that marijuana use prior to AMI was associated with decreased in-hospital mortality post AMI,” the study’s authors wrote.
The researchers didn’t have exactly clear answers as to why this was, but did offer some suggestions. One theory is “marijuana use may have provided a cardioprotective effect to users,” thanks to activation of CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system. The study’s authors pointed to different cannabis research, which found that cannabis use could increase blood flow, which resulted in lowering the risk of strokes.
But the researchers’ other theory isn’t as up-lifting. Cannabis consumers could be more at risk for “smaller, non-fatal” heart attacks. According to the data, the marijuana users who suffered a heart attack were on average 10 years younger than non-cannabis users.
Neither suggestion is conclusive, which is why researchers called for more work to be done related AMIs and cannabis consumers. Overall though, they concluded that “marijuana use reported during hospitalization for AMI was associated with a significantly decreased risk of in-hospital mortality.” I can imagine Kevin Smith would agree with that sentiment.