If you are considering seeking residential addiction treatment for a cannabis use disorder, you’ve already taken a significant step toward a healthier and more fulfilling life. Understanding the potential consequences of marijuana abuse is crucial, and one of the lesser-known risks is the development of cardiovascular disease.
Here, the team from Waypoint Recovery Center’s South Carolina residential addiction treatment program takes a look at how cannabis use disorders can lead to cardiovascular disease and why it’s essential to seek help. If you’re interested in learning more, we urge you to contact our admissions representatives today.
How Cannabis Use Disorders Are Diagnosed
Contrary to popular belief, there is no specific level of marijuana consumption that means a person has a cannabis use disorder. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) classifies cannabis use disorder as a problematic pattern of cannabis use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress. Symptoms can include:
- Using cannabis in larger amounts or for longer periods than intended. This may involve unsuccessful attempts to cut down or control cannabis use.
- Continued cannabis use despite negative consequences. Often, a person with a cannabis use disorder will continue despite job loss, financial problems, legal troubles, family concerns, romantic breakups, or health issues caused or exacerbated by cannabis use.
- Tolerance. Tolerance is the need for increasing amounts of cannabis to achieve the desired effect or a diminished effect with the same amount of cannabis.
- Withdrawal. Individuals may experience withdrawal symptoms such as mood swings, irritability, and insomnia when they reduce or stop using cannabis.
- Cravings. Individuals may experience intense cravings for marijuana when they try to reduce their consumption or find themselves unable to use.
- Interruption of daily responsibilities. This can involve neglecting responsibilities at school, work, or home, as well as reduced performance due to cannabis use.
- Lack of interest in hobbies or previously enjoyed hobbies. A person with a cannabis use disorder will often reduce or abandon activities they once enjoyed to spend more time obtaining or using marijuana.
How Marijuana Use Affects Your Heart
The active compounds in marijuana, particularly delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), can affect your cardiovascular system in various ways.
- Increased heart rate. Cannabis use is known to cause a temporary increase in heart rate, commonly referred to as tachycardia. This elevated heart rate can pose a risk to individuals with underlying heart conditions and those at risk for developing cardiovascular problems.
- Blood pressure fluctuations. While some research suggests that these changes are relatively minor, they can be concerning for people with hypertension or a predisposition to cardiovascular disease.
- Vasoconstriction. THC can cause the constriction of blood vessels, a condition known as vasoconstriction. This narrowing of blood vessels can reduce blood flow to the heart, increasing the risk of cardiovascular events, particularly in adults with pre-existing conditions.
How Cannabis Use Disorders Can Lead to Cardiovascular Disease
There are three key ways in which an untreated cannabis use disorder can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Negative impact on cardiometabolic factors. Cannabis use can influence cardiometabolic factors such as cholesterol levels, blood sugar regulation, and body mass index. These factors are important in determining one’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
- Long-term cardiovascular risks. Chronic cannabis use can have lasting effects on cardiovascular health. Studies have demonstrated a link between heavy cannabis use and the development of atherosclerosis, a condition where plaque builds up in the arteries and restricts blood flow. Over time, atherosclerosis can lead to heart disease and other cardiovascular problems.
- Increased risk of acute cardiovascular events. Research has shown an association between cannabis use and an increased risk of acute cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and strokes. These events may occur during or shortly after using cannabis, and the risk is higher in individuals with a history of cannabis use disorders.
Improve Your Health by Seeking Residential Addiction Treatment
Although the link between cardiovascular disorder and cannabis use disorders is concerning, there’s reason for hope. Getting treatment for your addiction to marijuana can help you heal damage from past substance abuse and put you on the path to a healthier, happier future.
Residential addiction treatment at Waypoint Recovery Center can provide a structured and supportive environment in which to begin your recovery journey. Our program offers several important benefits:
- Supervised detox. Our medically supervised detoxification ensures that you can safely manage withdrawal symptoms.
- Therapy and counseling. You’ll have access to individual and group therapy sessions where you can address the underlying causes of your addiction and develop coping strategies.
- Peer support. You’ll be surrounded by individuals who are on a similar journey, providing valuable peer support and understanding.
- A holistic approach to recovery. Our programs address the act of marijuana use as well as the physical, emotional, and mental aspects of your health.
- Continuing care services. Our commitment to your success doesn’t stop once you’ve graduated from residential treatment. We offer a wide range of alumni programs and recovery management services to help you successfully transition back to independent living.
Want to learn more? Contact our admissions representatives today.