Did you know that your heart pumps approximately 20,000 gallons of blood daily? Did you also know that marijuana can increase your heartbeat by up to 20 to 50 beats per minute? Research has yet to uncover the thousands of ways marijuana works in the body, but one of the ways is through our cardiovascular system.
For thousands of years, humans have used cannabis as a medicine. Patients who use this herb claim to prefer it to conventional treatment as their system seems to tolerate it more. Another reason they claim to love this herb for treatment is because of its relative absence of side effects. Researchers have studied, in particular, how weed interacts with the cardiovascular system and alters your heart rate. We are not medical or scientific experts but in this post, we'll break down how this happens.
How Cannabis Affects Your Heart
If you have been reading many weed articles and literature, you’ve probably figured out that when you consume cannabis, the cannabinoids present in the plant interact with the endocannabinoid system, hence the effects you get from consuming weed.
The endocannabinoid system consists of cannabinoid receptors - the CB1 and CB2 receptors and the endocannabinoid chemicals. When there is an interaction between the cannabinoid receptors and endocannabinoids, the result is a series of functions - including mood, appetite, movement, sleep, etc. While all these are happening, the endocannabinoid system tries to maintain homeostasis.
Homeostasis is a state of constant internal balance in an environment with consistent external changes.
The body must continually monitor and adjust blood pressure and body temperature to maintain homeostasis. Research has uncovered that weed is a vasodilator. This means that it widens your blood vessels. Furthermore, the endocannabinoid system is a significant factor that controls blood pressure. The interaction between the cannabinoid in cannabis and your endocannabinoid system is what influences your heart rate. The implication is lower blood pressure and dilated blood vessels, which makes your heart require more energy to pump blood and, as a result, an increased heart rate.
Now to wrap up our question. We’ve learned that cannabis affects your cardiovascular system and increases your heart rate. Your heart races due to one of the effects of weed dilating your blood vessels. However, it only lasts as long as you’re high. With a higher heart rate, you do become more vulnerable to heart attacks, which can be particularly risky to older people or individuals with heart conditions. An increased heart rate can certainly be terrifying, especially when a shock happens fast and unexpectedly. Notably, cannabis can increase one's anxiety which can also be responsible for an increased heart rate. But on a good note, these effects usually become insignificant as your tolerance to this plant increases.