Ask an MD: Are Edibles Bad for Your Heart?

Are edibles bad for your heart?
By Halla Mannering Updated April 25th

Fact-checked by Alexandra Arnett, MS

Each method of cannabis consumption has its own effects. Learning how to distinguish between them and their benefits and health risks is important.1 

Edibles are a popular option and many prefer this cannabis consumption method. Edibles provide a few unique benefits over smoking. 

  • Dosage: One of the biggest benefits of edibles is they can be easier to dose than smoking. When smoking cannabis, it can be difficult to know how much THC is actually consumed. However, with most edible products, the THC dosage is more precise. For example, one gummy contains a specific amount of THC.
  • Convenience: Edibles are a convenient option. They can be taken anywhere where it is legal, and there is no smoke to bother those around the consumer. 
  • Experience: Edibles come in a variety of options for consumers to choose what works best for their lifestyle. 
  • Health Risks: Edibles present fewer health risks than smoking.2 Smoking may affect lung health, but choosing edibles can ease this concern. 

When beginning to use edibles, many users are concerned if they are bad for their hearts. We spoke with Dr. Brian Kessler, Medical Director of Spine and Sports Medicine in Manhattan, to get to the bottom of the common question: Are edibles bad for your heart?

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How Does THC Affect the Heart?

Unfortunately, there’s still a large amount of research that needs to be done to determine the various effects of cannabis and if THC affects the heart. Consumers should understand the current available research and make decisions that make them feel comfortable. 

According to Dr. Kessler, “We have research that tells us CB1 receptor activation, particularly by THC, has varying effects on the cardiovascular system, some protective, and some that may cause harm.”

The current research that exists on this topic is conflicting. Some sources report that activating cannabis receptors in the cardiovascular system leads to lower contractility, as well as increased vasodilation - which decreases blood pressure. With that being said, the same source also found that cannabis can play a protective role, especially in cases where a post-stroke tissue injury has happened.3

Are Edibles Worse for the Heart Than Smoking Weed?

Edibles vs smoking weed for heart health

It’s common knowledge that smoking can be bad for the heart, but are edibles any better?

“Smoking can result in the inhalation of toxic carcinogens that negatively impact heart rate, blood pressure, and blood vessels. Using edibles can reduce the exposure to these toxins, but caution should still be taken when taking high doses of THC,” says Dr. Kessler.

Specific research to understand how cannabis smoking can impact your heart health is lacking. However, it’s very likely that edibles are better for the heart than smoking. Individuals using edibles should still be careful and practice caution when they’re taking edibles. 

If you’re worried about your heart health and how edibles could impact it, it’s best to wait and speak with your doctor. It’s always best to get a professional opinion before using cannabis or any other substance.

What are the Possible Risks of Edibles On the Heart?

While edibles may be better for the heart than other cannabis consumption methods, they still should be used with caution. 

Dr. Kessler tells us, “When used in high doses, THC edibles may cause an increase in arrhythmia, myocardial infarction, cardiomyopathy, stroke, or heart failure in individuals with preexisting cardiovascular conditions or who have a history of smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol.”

Cannabis likely has the ability to impact cardiovascular cells in multiple ways. Perhaps one of the most significant risks that cannabis may present is the hardening of the heart. This can lead to significant health concerns, so it is important to be aware of this risk.3

To minimize potential risks to heart health due to cannabis use, take note of the following:

  • Moderation: One of the best ways to reduce potential health risks is to use it in moderation. Start with a smaller dose and then increase, if necessary.
  • Products: When it comes to buying cannabis, purchase from a reputable source. Buying contaminated products could result in serious health concerns.
  • Research: If you have a previous or current heart health concern, speak with your doctor before using any substance (including cannabis). By remaining informed, you’ll be aware of any specific risks unique to your situation.

Can Edibles Benefit Heart Health?

Does weed lower heart rate?

Are there any heart benefits associated with consuming edibles?

Dr. Kessler tells us, “We have mixed evidence on how THC can affect the heart, with some studies showing a protective effect, while others indicate it can cause adverse effects. Anyone with a heart condition who is considering using cannabis should speak with their doctor first.”

While edibles may have some benefits, weighing those benefits against potential risks is best done on a case by case basis. It’s unlikely that using edibles will improve heart health unless that change is paired with other lifestyle changes. Speak with your doctor for personalized recommendations for improving heart health. 

Does Weed Cause Heart Palpitations?

Weed and heart palpitations are important topics that are not often discussed. “In high doses, and in those that are sensitive to THC or have preexisting cardiovascular conditions, weed can lead to heart palpitations or arrhythmia,” Dr. Kessler advises.

Heart palpitations are more likely to occur when someone uses high doses of cannabis and also chooses smoking as their method of consumption. Those concerned about heart palpitations should choose a lower dose and speak with a healthcare professional.

Does Weed Lower Heart Rate?

Does weed lower heart rate?

There isn’t significant research that’s found cannabis use alone can lower heart rate. Dr. Kessler notes that, “While THC won’t lower heart rate, developing a tolerance to THC can reduce the incidence of increased heart rate.” 

If you have a medical condition that impacts your heart rate, then it’s best to speak with your doctor before using cannabis. They’ll be able to point you in the right direction and make sure that you’re using cannabis safely.

Does Weed Raise Heart Rate?

Some consumers have anecdotally reported that cannabis can lead to increased heart rate.3

“The main culprit for increased heart rate and weed is THC, through its activation of the CB1 receptors,” Dr. Kessler says. “These effects usually last a short period of time. Still, suppose you have preexisting cardiovascular conditions and are concerned that your resting heart rate jumps above 160 bpm. If you feel severe shortness of breath or chest pains, it may be wise to seek medical attention if natural remedies are not working.”

If you’re consuming cannabis and experience a noticeably heightened heart rate, that may be a sign that the dose is too high. Consider consuming less cannabis next time and speaking with a medical provider about your symptoms.

Do Edibles and Heart Medication Interact?

Do edibles and heart medication interact?

Dr. Kessler warns, “Cannabis can interact with a number of different cardiovascular medications, and it is best to avoid using both together as cannabis can cause an increase in certain drug concentrations, leading to increased risk of side effects.”

Cannabis can affect heart medications, such as calcium channel blockers, warfarin, and antiarrhythmics.4

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How to Slow Down Heart Rate After Edibles

If you are experiencing a faster heart rate due to cannabis use, it is often possible to slow down your heart rate in a natural way. “Some methods, like deep breathing or vagal maneuver techniques, can be used to naturally reduce your heart rate after using cannabis,” Dr. Kessler recommends.


  1. Barrus DG, Capogrossi KL, Cates SC, et al. Tasty THC: Promises and Challenges of Cannabis Edibles. Methods Rep RTI Press. 2016;2016:10.3768/rtipress.2016.op.0035.1611. ↩︎
  2. Spindle TR, Bonn-Miller MO, Vandrey R. Changing landscape of cannabis: novel products, formulations, and methods of administration. Curr Opin Psychol. 2019;30:98-102. doi:10.1016/j.copsyc.2019.04.002 ↩︎
  3. Dziemitko S, Harasim-Symbor E, Chabowski A. How do phytocannabinoids affect cardiovascular health? An update on the most common cardiovascular diseases. Ther Adv Chronic Dis. 2023;14:20406223221143239. Published 2023 Jan 6. doi:10.1177/20406223221143239 ↩︎
  4. DeFilippis EM, Bajaj NS, Singh A, et al. Marijuana Use in Patients With Cardiovascular Disease: JACC Review Topic of the Week. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2020;75(3):320-332. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2019.11.025 ↩︎

The information in this article and any included images or charts are for educational purposes only. This information is neither a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional legal advice or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about laws, regulations, or your health, you should always consult with an attorney, physician or other licensed professional.

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