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Smoking cannabis, born with heart murmurs. Can it increase the risk of heart disease?

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Practicing since : 1981
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My son drinks and smokes cannabis since he was 16. Now he is 26 and does it every day. His relationship broke down and he had to leave his partner and daughter and move in back with me. I don't know how I can influence him, he doesn't want to hear me. I am going to Al-Anon group for family members of alcoholics and drug addicts. Hope they can advice if there is any way to help my son.
He was born with heart murmurs. Can it higher the risk of heart disease?
Many thanks.
Posted Fri, 14 Sep 2012 in Hypertension and Heart Disease
Answered by Dr. Anil Grover 2 hours later
Hi there,
Thanks for writing in.
I am a qualified and certified cardiologist.
If your son has murmur since birth it most likely that he is suffering from congenital heart disease. If I were to guess the disease, I will have to presume no corrective surgery has been advised or performed. He is now 26 years of age therefore that narrows down to following two or three diseases:
1. Small VSD (Murmur appears around fourth week of life)
2. Bicuspid Aortic valve without significant aortic regurgitation or leakage of valve
or stenosis of valve. (Murmur is detected at the time of vaccination if he had
been auscultated. Same is true of mitral valve prolapse with mild mitral
regurgitation. Here murmurs are detected much later not at the time of birth.
3. Last a congenital heart defect with murmur since birth and not operated because
there is no risk of not operating. Like venous hum as an example.

In short the heart defect is not serious enough. On the other hand apart from effect of smoking which can produce coronary artery disease later. I do not expect any serious effects on heart because of a murmur (Unless you have a diagnosis). The side effects of Cannabis on cardiovascular system can be summarised as follows:

1. Cannabis smoking increases heart rate by 20–50% within a few minutes to a
quarter of an hour; this effect lasts for up to 3 hr.
2 Blood pressure is increased while the person is sitting, and decreased while
These effects are not of much clinical significance in healthy young users because their body gets used to these (technically user delvelop tolerance to the drug component of Cannabis). So, with murmur of no significance he is a healthy young man. This I am writing without any intention to belittle your efforts towards de addiction those are laudable and deserve praise. Because other systems of body do have side effects because of cannabis. Good Luck. Please do write if you have a question for me I will be most happy to answer.

With best wishes.
Dr Anil Grover,
M.B.;B.S, M.D. (Internal Medicine) D.M.(Cardiology)http://www/ WWW.WWWW.WW
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