Ignore Kevin Smith: Weed Won't Save Your Life During a Heart Attack
During an interview with Stephen Colbert earlier this month, the director and actor Kevin Smith (aka Silent Bob) said his doctors credit his recent survival of a “widow-maker” heart attack to a joint he smoked shortly before the medical emergency, which reportedly kept him calm.
However, experts say that it’s unlikely that marijuana helped the comedian stay alive during the heart attack, during which Smith suffered total blockage of his left anterior descending artery.
In fact, toking up may have boosted his risk of having a heart attack to begin with.
“The jury’s still out on all the cardiovascular effects of marijuana, but I know it didn’t save his life,” says Dr. Bryant Nguyen, a board-certified cardiologist affiliated with Sharp Grossmont Hospital in San Diego, California. “Marijuana actually raises your heart rate and increases your risk of a heart attack in the first place.”
He pointed to a 2001 study that found the risk of heart attack to be 4.8 times higher in the first hour after using marijuana. More recent research, which looked at 20 million health records, found that marijuana use “was associated with a significantly increased risk for stroke, heart failure, coronary artery disease, and sudden cardiac death.”
Some cannabis experts believe that data on the Schedule 1 drug’s effects on cardiovascular health is still too limited to draw any certain conclusions. However, Dr. Jordan Tishler, a cannabis therapeutics specialist at InhaleMD in Brookline, Massachusetts, doesn’t believe there’s proof that feeling relaxed from marijuana will save your life during a heart attack.
“It’s nice that the physician allegedly said that the joint