An Examination of the Impact of Habitual Cannabis Use on Vascular Health, Cardiac Function, and Cardiac Structure in Healthy Adults.
Cigarette smoking is one of the most detrimental behaviours to cardiovascular health. Its use leads to arterial stiffening, endothelial dysfunction, and structural/functional alterations to the myocardium. Apart from alcohol, cannabis is the most commonly used recreational substance in the world and is often smoked, similar to cigarettes. This thesis explores whether cannabis users manifest altered baseline levels of arterial stiffness, endothelial function, or cardiac structure and function. Using a cross-sectional design measures of pulse wave velocity (PWV), flow-mediated dilation (FMD) and echocardiography were performed in young healthy cannabis smokers (CU) and nonusers (NU). CU had higher PWV compared to non-users. FMD was similar between CU and NU. There were no differences in cardiac morphology, or measures of cardiac function between CU and NU. However, CU demonstrated reduced peak apical rotation. This suggests young apparently healthy cannabis users demonstrate arterial stiffening and altered cardiac mechanics compared to young apparently healthy non-users.