Experts Warn Cannabis Consumption Could Cause Heart-Related Diseases

People who consume cannabis could be at risk of developing coronary heart disease and other heart-related conditions, the Forensic Physician Association of Thailand has warned.

The association’s president Dr. Smith Srisont, who also heads the operating forensic laboratory at the Ramathibodi Hospital Faculty of Medicine, spoke about the findings on Tuesday, citing information from an overseas toxicology investigation published in 2019.

The study focused on patients who died after consuming cannabis and followed 13 people aged between 17 and 52. All were healthy, had no underlying diseases, and tested negative for toxic substances.

Blood tests also showed there were no large amounts of the drug in their bodies.

Researchers also found that 35 people aged between 15 and 53 had fallen ill after using cannabis. The drug also caused ischemic heart disease and cardiac arrhythmia.

According to Dr. Smith, separate research found that nearly 4,000 patients who smoked cannabis for about an hour a day were 4.8 times more likely to develop ischemic heart disease.

The medical expert also advised people to see a doctor immediately if they experience nausea after using cannabis.

Thailand decriminalized cannabis earlier this month, removing it from the Category 5 narcotics list and allowing its use for medicinal purposes. However, the move has drawn criticism and calls to regulate its consumption, especially among young people.

Dr. Smith insisted that Thailand’s authorities must impose strict laws to control the use of cannabis plants in a similar way to other countries and asked health officials to develop campaigns to raise public awareness of potential risks posed by consuming marijuana.

The government must also define laws to punish restaurants or cafes for using cannabis as an ingredient in their dishes without warning customers about the related risks.

Although the plant’s recreational use remains banned in Thailand, several cases of cannabis overdose and incidents of recreational marijuana use have been reported.

The Buri Ram Provincial Office of Buddhism launched an investigation against four novice monks who were defrocked after appearing in a viral online video smoking cannabis. They all admitted their misconduct later.

Also, Mental Health Department has confirmed that a Thai man with a history of psychiatric illness cut off his own penis after consuming too much cannabis and hallucinating.