Malika Faouzi, Clay Wakano, Mahealani K Monteilh-Zoller, Ram P Neupane, John G Starkus, Jayanti Bhandari Neupane, Aaron J Cullen, Brandon E Johnson, Andrea Fleig, and Reinhold Penner


Feb 09, 2022


Background: Atrial fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia, acute coronary syndromes, and cardiac arrest have been attributed to marijuana. But the National Academy of Science’s 2017 Report, The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids, found limited evidence that acute marijuana smoking is positively associated with an increased risk of acute myocardial infarction, and uncovered no evidence to support or refute associations between any chronic effects of marijuana use and increased risk of myocardial infarct (MI).

Aims: We sought to determine the association of marijuana smoking with MI in the UK Biobank cohort. Because red wine is a mood-altering substance, we compared the effect of marijuana with red wine on MI incidence.

Methods: Our analysis included all subjects with MI. The diagnosis was ascertained using the 10th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD10 I21). Marijuana was recorded in UKB Category 143, medical conditions, marijuana use. Cigarette smoking information was from UKB Category 100058, smoking. To compare marijuana smoking with the effect of wine drinking we used data from UKB Category 10051, alcohol.

Results: With marijuana use, MI incidence decreased (p < 0.001, two tail Fisher exact test). Red wine was associated with lower MI incidence, although the incidence begins to rise at 11 or more glasses per week (p < 0.001, two tail Fisher exact test). Multivariate analysis was done with logistic regression, MI dependent variable, cigarette pack-years, diabetes type 2, sex, BMI, hypertension, marijuana use, age, red wine consumption, independent variables. Odds ratio (O.R.) 0.844 associated with marijuana use indicates that MI was less likely in marijuana users and was comparable to the effect of red wine (O.R. 0.847). Conclusion: Marijuana, which has not been shown to have the favorable physiologic effects of red wine on the heart, does reduce MI risk to an extent comparable to red wine. Perhaps both affect the heart by reducing stress.

DOI: 10.7759/cureus.22054


Lehrer S, Rheinstein PH. Marijuana and Myocardial Infarction in the UK Biobank Cohort. Cureus. 2022 Feb 9;14(2):e22054. doi: 10.7759/cureus.22054. PMID: 35165641; PMCID: PMC8826760.