Marihuana and palpitations

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Submitted by Dr T on February 9, 2011 – 10:04am

Before you claim this as “outside of your expertise”, know that I am asking you this question because my HEART was racing when I smoked marijuana. I use to smoke weed for 2 years, stopped for about 3 and then smoked it once recently and my heart was pounding and racing for about 2 and a half hours while I was high. Either I was paranoid (so it was psychological) or it was just physiological from the marijuana, what do you think? Do I have anything to be worried about? What could be the cause of my heart pounding so hard, I honestly felt like I was “dying”, but it’s just marijuana!  Not Crack! I’m 19 and male. Thanks again.

Palpitations are a known side effect, and the obvious answer is to avoid those things that causes them. You can read more here:
What are the causes of ventricular arrhythmias?
Some cases are simply “normal variants”, occurring in otherwise normal individuals.
Other causes include :
1. A variety of underlying cardiac conditions, including coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy, mitral valve prolapse, etc.
2. Abnormal levels of “electrolytes” (minerals) in the blood. Decreased potassium and/or magnesium are the most common associated abnormalities of electrolytes. Both may be caused by the use of diuretics (water pills), among other reasons.
3. There are unusual congenital (familial) causes of ventricular arrhythmias.
4. Abnormal conditions such as increased thyroid hormones, and others.
5. Toxins, including alcohol.
6. Stimulants such as
+ Caffeine Nicotine and/or Cocaine can cause serious ventricular arrhythmias.
+ Some over-the-counter medications and herbal/natural formulations contain important stimulants
7. Infection, inflammation or degeneration of the heart muscle.
8. Infections at other sites in the body.
9. They are often worse with lack of sleep, or stress.
10. There are also other causes.
Hope this helps,
Dr T

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