Scotland has long had a history with cannabis and during 2019/20, stats showed that a total of 33,295 cannabis plants were seized by police, while there is a large problem with cannabis addiction in the country.

The vast majority of people are aware of the side effects and risks that come with cannabis, while many will also see the benefits, given that it is available for medical use in many nations around the world.

However, a new study has found that there are more side effects that can be associated with cannabis, including an increased risk of an irregular heartbeat.

While a lowered sperm count, lung cancer and the likes of paranoia are side effects of marijuana usage, people who take cannabis are 75% more likely to develop an irregular heartbeat.

The research was undertaken by Gentofte University in Copenhagen and it found that those that were using the drug for medical reasons, in order to manage chronic pain, were significantly more likely to develop arrhythmia, which in turn can lead to further, and even life-threatening complications.

The research comes at an interesting time for cannabis, with it being legalised in many parts of the world. At present, that isn’t the case in the UK, but there are a number of campaigns and pressure being mounted on that to change. Earlier this year, Sadiq Khan announced a commission to review the laws in the country, stating: 

“The illegal drugs trade causes huge damage to our society and we need to do more to tackle this epidemic and further the debate around our drugs laws.”

While this wouldn’t change laws per se, it could influence them and there is certainly an interest around the results. However, this study could be influential in the laws remaining the same and cannabis remaining a class B drug.

The study found that just under 1% of cannabis users would develop arrhythmia due to cannabis usage, and while that may seem low, put it on a global scale and that’s 1% of 147 million people.

Dr Nina Nouhravesh, who was the lead author of the study said: “’Our study found that medical cannabis users had a 74 percent higher risk of heart rhythm disorders compared with non-users; however, the absolute risk difference was modest.”

“It should be noted that a higher proportion of those in the cannabis group were taking other pain medications, namely non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), opioids and anti-epileptics, and we cannot rule out that this might explain the greater likelihood of arrhythmias.”