Purpose of review: The purpose of the study was to examine the published evidence on the cardiovascular risk related to the use of cannabis-based products by performing a systematic review of recent literature.
Recent findings: The World Health Organization (WHO) emphasizes that cannabis use represents a risky behavior as it may lead to many adverse effects, and in particular, cardiovascular effects. A systematic review of articles published between January 1, 2011 and May 31, 2016 was performed in agreement with the PRISMA statement. Articles presenting data on humans exposed to cannabis-based products and suffering from any cardiovascular condition were eligible for inclusion. The inclusion process was based on a search algorithm and performed in a blinded standardized manner. Overall, 826 articles were found in the literature search, 115 of which remained after performing the inclusion procedure. These were 81 case reports, 29 observational studies, 3 clinical trials, and 2 experimental studies. A total of 116 individuals was the subject of case reports. The mean age was 31 years (95%CI = 29-34), and patients were more frequently men (81.9%) than women (18.1%). They mainly suffered from ischemic strokes or myocardial infarctions. Data provided by the 29 included observational studies evidenced an association between exposure to cannabis-based products and cardiovascular disease. Currently, this evidence is stronger for ischemic strokes than for any other cardiovascular diseases. While the data are limited, there is some suggestion that cannabis use may have negative cardiovascular consequences, particularly at large doses.
Keywords: Cannabis; Cardiovascular disease; Cerebrovascular accidents; Medical cannabis; Stroke; Synthetic cannabinoids; Systematic review.