Why You Can Get Chest Pain From Smoking Marijuana?

There are a number of cases that indicate the effects of weed on the heart. The Journal of Emergencies, Trauma, and Shock has a 2010 report of two males who had to rush to an emergency room because of acute chest pains. The pain started about an hour and a half after smoking cannabis. One of them had a heart attack shortly after being admitted. From evaluating these two men and their health outcomes, the authors of the report outlined the effects of marijuana on the heart as well as blood vessels in certain cases, this explains the occurrence of chest pain and heart attacks. Toronto weed delivery

Low and high doses of weed 

Smoking low doses of the pot make your heart rate increase. It also raises your blood pressure and makes your heart work more. This means that the blood supply and oxygen going to your heart muscle may decrease. This, in turn, can bring about chest pains or even a heart attack. The occurrence of pains or heart attacks is higher for people with underlying heart disease and risk factors. Taking a higher dose of cannabis has quite the opposite effect. Unlike low doses, a higher dose will slow your heart rate and decrease your blood pressure. This can then also lead to a decrease in the blood supply and oxygen going to the heart muscle. This can cause chest pain or a heart attack. In a person with a history of coronary artery disease, the weed effects can bring on chest pains and heart attacks. This happens when the cholesterol plaques are raptured, and the coronary artery becomes blocked. Smoking weed also results in increased carbon dioxide in the bloodstream. This leads to lower oxygen supply going to the heart muscle as well as narrowing of your coronary arteries. This will result in chest pain and increases the risk of a heart attack.


The following statistics will help you paint a picture to gain some perspective on the effects of smoking cannabis on the cardiovascular system:

  • There is a four times greater risk of cannabis experiencing an acute heart attack shortly after smoking pot. This is according to the report we mentioned above.
  • The 2014 Journal of the American Heart Association includes an analysis of a French database of young pot smokers. The analysis indicates that 1.8% of the reports were related to cardiovascular incidents. Nine out of the 1979 cases resulted in death.

A 2002 article published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology recommends that people who have underlying heart disease need to adhere to the warning that they are at greater risk for getting chest pain and a heart attack from smoking weed.

Lung Disease and weed smoking

Smoking cannabis on a regular basis and in heavy doses, affects the airways and lung tissue. This can give you chest pains as you smoke and even in between smoking. A review of weed and lung diseases published in Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine indicates that smoking pot leads to chest pain and coughing as a result of:

  • Inflammation and irritation of the small airways and lung spaces. This is known as bronchitis.
  • Inflammation and irritation of the large airway. This is known as pharyngitis.

Factors resulting in increased irritation and damage

The following factors result in an increase in the chances of airway and lung irritation as well as damage:

  • Holding the smoke in after inhaling: Some weed smokers tend to hold the cannabis smoke longer in their lungs in order to increase absorption of the THC in their blood.
  • The pot dosage: A 2007 review published in Thorax indicates that smoking higher doses of weed increases the adverse effects on the airways and lungs. The effects of smoking high doses are a lot worse than smoking cigarettes.
  • Contamination of cannabis: According to the Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine review mentioned above, fungus and bacteria in marijuana can cause fungal or bacterial lung infections as well as chest pain.

Costochondritis from smoking weed

Smoking pot can also lead to irritation or inflammation of the muscles in the rib cage, the cartilage joints between the ribs and the sternum, also known as the breastbone. This condition is known as costochondritis and can bring on chest pains, especially as you breathe in. The symptoms of costochondritis tend to seem like a heart attack and you may find it difficult to tell the symptoms apart.

Repetitive deep breathing and lung expansion

When you repeatedly breathe deeply and expand your lungs as you smoke weed, you can cause further irritation or inflammation of your chest muscles as well as rib joints. Some weed smokers have a habit of drawing on their weed deeply then holding it in the lungs before finally exhaling. 

Smoking weed and anxiety 

Anxiety and panic attacks can make your chest tight and cause pain that may be difficult to tell apart from heart pain. The 2015 review published in Neurotherapeutics, states that cannabis use can cause acute anxiety or panic attacks, especially when smoked in high doses. In 2009 the Archives of General Psychiatry published an article claiming that fear, anxiety, paranoia, and even psychosis can be caused by certain areas of the brain being activated THC found in cannabis. If you experience anxiety or panic attacks after smoking pot, your chest pain could be related to the negative effects of weed on the brain. Hyperventilating as a result of anxiety and panic can worsen the chest pain, creating a cycle of more panic and pain. If you are hyperventilating, you may also experience numbness and tingling in your fingers, hands, and face. According to a 2009 article published in Neuropsychopharmacology, scientific cause and effect evidence of smoking weed and anxiety and panic attacks is complex. This is due to the fact that cannabis use is more common in people who already have existing anxiety and panic disorders.

Harmful weed contaminants

There is no real way of knowing if the marijuana you purchase is clean, or if it has contaminants that may cause chest pain. You need to be aware that your weed might contain unknown substances that can have negative effects on your essential organs. The Smithsonian claims that modern weed strains are more potent and contain heavy metals, pesticides, and other harmful substances that can infect your lungs.

What to do if you have chest pains from smoking weed 

When you get chest pains from smoking weed, you might not be able to tell if the pain is from your heart or because of the causes of chest pain. It is important that you call 911 or go to an emergency room if the pain moves down your left arm towards your left jaw. You also need to seek medical attention if the pain is persistent and is accompanied by sweating, dizziness, or shortness of breath. Getting seen by a medical professional will reduce the risk of the pain, developing into something that could have fatal consequences. Even if you are young and you are not aware of any risk factors, you can still have a heart attack or get serious lung disease from smoking pot. The risk is more if you have existing heart disease or lung disease. If you have chest pain from smoking weed often, you should consider cutting back or stopping completely.

Tirupati Gumpula

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