In analyzing pre-clinical data derived from animal models, Hadassah Medical Center researchers, in coordination with Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, have discovered that the active constituents in marijuana hold promise in the management of certain cardiovascular diseases.

These diseases include arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and ischemia (obstruction of the arterial blood supply). Cannabinoids (the constituents of the marijuana plant), they found, can modulate cardiac inflammatory processes, maintaining hemodynamic homeostasis and rhythm control. “It is not surprising, therefore,” the investigators explain, “that cannabinoids offer intervention opportunities to alter the course of cardiovascular diseases.” They further explain that “there is evidence that activating the cannabinoid system may prevent ischemic injuries and arrhythmia” as well as affect heart rhythms, since a few studies indicate potential anti-arrhythmic properties for cannabinoids, in the presence of heart failure.

The researchers conclude: “The evidence of a potential role for cannabinoids in various cardiovascular pathologies, together with the safety data gleaned from various human intervention studies, indicate that now is the time to show efficacy across species and continue toward human trials.”

 

The findings are reported in the February 2011 issue of  Cardiovascular Therapeutics

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