Cannabis for Chronic Pain Linked to Increased Risk of Arrhythmia Interview with:
Anders Holt
Department of Cardiology
Copenhagen University Hospital—Herlev and Gentofte
Gentofte Hospitalsve
Hellerup, Denmark
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
School of Population Health, University of Aucklan
Auckland, New Zealand What is the background for this study?


Response: The motivation for this study was the fact that medical cannabis is being made available as medical treatment for chronic pain in an increasing number of countries worldwide. Meanwhile, robust evidence on possible cardiovascular side-effects is very scarce. This could be worrisome since recreational cannabis previously have been associated with an elevated risk of arrhythmia and acute coronary syndromes. What are the main findings?

Response: In this study of a nationwide cohort of patients with chronic pain, a modest but significantly increased risk of arrhythmia was found when comparing patients prescribed medical cannabis compared with matched control patients. No increased risk of acute coronary syndromes, heart failure, or stroke was found. The risk increase of arrhythmia was highest among patients with known cardiometabolic disease or cancer. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: First, I would like to point out that this was an observational study and that these findings are associations and not evidence of any causal relationship. However, since very little evidence exists on this topic, any additions to the knowledge pool are vital.

Until more evidence emerge, it might be beneficial to improve monitoring of cardiovascular symptoms in patients prescribed medical cannabis, especially in patients with higher inherent risk of arrhythmia, e.g., older patients and patients with history of cancer or cardiometabolic disease. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: I believe that clinical studies specifically investigating both short- and long-term risk of cardiovascular disease should be prioritized. Likewise, observational studies in other settings and populations could certainly be helpful as well.

I have no disclosures in relation to this study.

Citation: Anders Holt, Nina Nouhravesh, Jarl E Strange, Sebastian Kinnberg Nielsen, Anne-Marie Schjerning, Peter Vibe Rasmussen, Christian Torp-Pedersen, Gunnar H Gislason, Morten Schou, Patricia McGettigan, Morten Lamberts, Cannabis for chronic pain: cardiovascular safety in a nationwide Danish study, European Heart Journal, 2024;, ehad834,

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Last Updated on January 13, 2024 by