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 FAQs Coping with A-Fib: Marijuana

Recreational Marjuana and A-Fib at

A-Fib & marijuana

“Is smoking medically prescribed marijuana or using Marinol (prescription form) going to trigger or cause A-Fib? Will it help my A-Fib?”

During the past few years an increasing number of case reports indicate an association between marijuana smoking and the development of A-Fib.

Compelling evidence is accumulating that marijuana has significant effects on the cardiovascular system. Studies show that cannabis smoking can result in “an increased risk of of both acute coronary syndrome and chronic cardiovascular disease associated with cannabis use.”

Research data shows marijuana smoking in relatively small doses leads to a slight increase in blood pressure and a decrease in oxygen capacity requiring the heart to work harder. Smoking higher doses of marijuana, especially in older individuals, may result in dizziness, fainting and falls.

Form Matters: The form of marijuana, the preparation and method of consumption affect the biological response and may have a different physiological impact.

Recently marijuana has been implicated in neurological complications such as headache, transient ischemic attacks and stroke. Middle age stroke patients were 2.3 times more likely to be pot smokers than healthy middle age control patients.

About palpitations: Marijuana smoking is independently associated with an increased incidence of palpitations (although the underlying cause of this finding was not yet clear).

A July 2018 study of heart failure and cannabis use may potentially change our thinking about marijuana and A-Fib. Researchers found that among patients admitted to a hospital for heart failure, those using cannabis were less likely to have A-Fib, “cannabis users have lower odds of (developing) AF when compared to non-users.”)

THC and CBD: From speaking to actual marijuana users, the THC component, such as is found in the marijuana plant Stavia, is what makes you feel “high.” The Sativa strain is better for energy, mood, and appetite.

The CBD component (cannabidiol), such as is found in the marijuana plant Indica (and in hemp), works better to reduce pain and anxiety, promote relaxation, and induce sleep. “CBD controls pain with an anti-inflamatory effect that is several hundred times more potent than aspirin.” Bottom Line Health advertises, endorses, and sells hemp-derived topical “CBD Muscle/Joint Rub—Windrush Organics CBD Extra Strength”, 800-980-9337 or online at 

Best Marijuana Product for A-Fib Patients? Probably the edible forms of marijuana using primarily the CBD component seem to be something that A-Fib patients might want to investigate. For pain relief, apply a topical CBD formula directly to the area that hurts.

An even better choice might be the sublingual form. (A materials science engineer emailed me that the sublingual form might be “much safer than edibles, since that kind of oil production has a very high safety standard, and having a B2C end product requires a lot of regulations.”

But obviously, talk to your doctor first. (This observation and discussion is, at this time, very speculative. Much more research needs to be done in this area.)

For my recent Marijuana report, listen to my Podcast:

Marijuana—Good, Bad or Ugly for Patients with A-Fib?

Go to Podcast

Personal Experiences Advice

JIM: Jim, an A-Fib patient, has kindly shared his personal experiences about how marijuana helps him. He has tried various meds, cardioversion, and had a failed ablation. He owns his own business in California and is under a lot of stress.

“Because of all of this, I was having trouble sleeping and was getting very stressed out. But instead of taking something pharmaceutical, I turned to medical marijuana. It changed my life. I come home at night, have some marijuana edibles, and the stress goes away. I sleep wonderfully at night, waking up fresh and ready for another day. I told my doctor who understands. He says that marijuana edibles shouldn’t have anything to do with A-Fib, and that I can continue to take them.”

JOHN: On the other hand, John writes that “99% of his A-Fib attacks occurred while under the influence of marijuana.”

WILLIAM: “The A-Fib ablation has been very successful, except the two times that I went into A-Fib after smoking marijuana. I’m a lifelong recreational marijuana smoker, also smoke to relieve the pain from six surgeries on my right arm. Both times that I’ve gone into A-Fib since my last ablation have been after smoking marijuana. After the latest episode I’ve quite smoking marijuana because of the evidence that it can lead to A-Fib.”

JONATHAN: “I tried a tiny bit of brownie for the first time since being diagnosed with A-Fib (occasional episodes). It was OK until about two hours later. I went into A-Fib and, a bit later, came the closest I ever have to blacking out. I don’t think it’s for me anymore.”

SCOTT: “I am currently 55 years old and have been through 15 cardioversions due to A-Fib. I smoked marijuana pretty much daily and noticed that, when I smoked, my heart rate went up. So, I stopped smoking altogether. Since quitting smoking marijuana 7 years ago, I have not had a single case of going into A-Fib. I’m positive that the two are related.” (Scott writes that he also stopped drinking which helped. He used to drink a six pack daily.)

      HANIFA:  “I have used cannabis for pain relief for about three years now…high CBD/low THC, primarily indica hybrids/strains, work best for        anti-inflammatory and pain relief. Ingesting drops of concentrated oil is my preferred delivery system. As with any aspect of taking responsibility for one’s health, this natural and effective medicine needs to be approached with intelligence, information, and prudence.”


More Research Needed on Medical Marijuana

Due to the increased use of medical marijuana in California and other states, we should soon be getting more data on marijuana’s effects on A-Fib.

Please email me if you have experiences or observations to share about marijuana and A-Fib.

References: Bottom Line Health Advertising Supplement. February 2021, p. 5-1.

Back to FAQs: Coping with Your A-Fib

Last updated: Monday, February 1, 2021


• Richards JR et al. Cannabis use and acute coronary syndrome. Clin Toxical (Phila). 2019 APR 9:1-11. doi: 10.1080/15563650.2019.1601735. [Epub ahead of print]

• Adegbala, O et al. Relation of Cannabis Use and Atrial Fibrillation Among Patients Hospitalized for Heart Failure. Am J Cardiol 2018 July 1;122(1): 129-134. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2018.03.015.

• Korantzopoulos, P. et al. Atrial Fibrillation and Marijuana Smoking. International Journal of Clinical Practice. 2008;62(2):308-313.

• Petronis KR, Anthony JC. An epidemiologic investigation of marijuana- and cocaine-related palpitations. Drug Alcohol Depend 1989; 23: 219-26.

• Rettner, R. Marijuana Use May Raise Stroke Risk in Young Adults., MyHealthNewsDaily February 08, 2013. Last accessed Nov 5, 2014. URL:

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