Weed and Holiday Heart – a New Warning

I learned about a variation on the Holiday Heart Syndrome last night.


Talking to a fellow physician friend, he told me he had to stop smoking weed because it caused atrial fibrillation (AF).

Could This Be Your Doctor?


I trust it is not too radical, the idea of a doctor doing drugs. We prescribe enough of them - and likely ones with the potential to do far more harm.


He complained of being tipped in to atrial fibrillation (a quirk of the hearts electrical activity leading to an irregular rhythm and diminished output).


I hadn’t heard of this, so consult with Dr. Google - the Internet has a wealth of medical information, and certainly sophisticated enough for a family physician (“a Jack of all trades and master of none” I always tell my patients).


I finished up on Medscape with an article from the International Journal of Clinical Practice (file:///Users/patrickneustatter/Documents/RESOURCES/Marijuana%20and%20AF.webarchive) that notes various adverse effects of marijuana on the cardiovascular system - seemingly to be attributable to the THC.


It can drop your blood pressure, which can cause people to fall out - which is why reclining on a bean bag is the preferred mode of administration.


It decreases the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood triggering “angina attacks or acute coronary syndromes . . especially in older individuals who have increased atherosclerotic burden” – so ageing hippies beware.

The article also corroborates what my colleague was complaining of. That it can mess with the electrics of the heart and bring on various arrhythmias, including atrial fibrillation.


AF is the sine-qua-non of the holiday heart syndrome, an abnormal heart rhythm precipitated by binge drinking of alcohol. Which is of course what we all do at the holidays.

Happy Holidays


So this is an interesting variation, maybe imposed by Bacchus and Dionysus to warn us off competing intoxicants.


And god forbid we should double dip.





1 Response

  1. Thanks for sharing, need to share this with some old hippie friends! As always you are the best Dr ever!

Leave a comment