French study: ‘One in ten cardiac intensive care patients on cannabis’

Almost ten per cent of patients admitted to intensive cardiac care units (ICCU) tested positive for cannabis, a French study has shown.

Researchers found that of all patients admitted to ICCU in 39 French centres from 7 to 22 April 2021, eleven per cent were recreational drug users – the most frequently used drug was cannabis.

A US report, published last year, demonstrated that cannabis users are increasing their risk of developing atrial fibrillation – a stroke-related heart condition – by as much as 35 per cent.

Major adverse effects

Results from the French study revealed that of 1,499 ICCU patients screened for drugs, 9.1 per cent had a positive test for cannabis, 2.1 per cent for opioids, and 1.7 per cent for cocaine.

According to French cardiologist Théo Pezel and his colleagues, patients who used recreational drugs exhibited a fourfold higher rate of in-hospital death, resuscitated cardiac arrest, or organ failure.

Fewer than six in ten of the patients who returned a positive test result admitted taking recreational drugs, and 28 per cent of the cohort were found to be taking more than one drug.

Cannabis rethink

Last year, a group of police commissioners in England warned that cannabis is as dangerous as heroin and cocaine.

David Sidwick, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset, called for cannabis to be upgraded to a Class A drug – a proposal backed by fellow commissioners for Devon and Cornwall, and Avon and Somerset.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Sidwick explained: “People who call this drug recreational haven’t seen the harm that psychosis and other cannabis-related conditions can do”.

Danish-funded research recently found strong evidence that young men regularly using cannabis are at significant risk of developing schizophrenia.

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