By Jonathan Springston, Editor, Relias Media

In a scientific statement published this week, the American Heart Association (AHA) called on the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to remove cannabis from the Schedule I category of the U.S. Controlled Substances Act. Doing so, according to the AHA, would allow more and better research into the drug’s possible risks and benefits.

“Because of the rapidly changing landscape of cannabis laws and marijuana use, there is a pressing need for refined policy, education of clinicians and the public, and new research. Laws should be harmonized in ways that limit confusion and better reflect the existing science behind cannabis,” the group wrote.

From there, the AHA argues there should be “a proactive approach” to identifying tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) levels in products available legally to the public. Still, the group prefers “doubling down” on its position that youth should avoid cannabis use generally, and that all users should avoid vaping or smoking cannabis. In fact, the group underlined the fact that although “cannabis may have therapeutic benefits … few are cardiovascular in nature.”

“All clinicians … need greater exposure to and education on the various cannabis products and their health implications during their initial training and continuing education, and they must be alert to the possibility that the use of cannabis or its potent synthetic analogs might be the underlying cause of severe cardiovascular events and pathologies,” the group concluded. “The public needs high-quality information about cannabis, which can help counterbalance the proliferation of rumor and false claims about the health effects of cannabis products. Furthermore, research funding must be increased proportionally to match the expansion of cannabis use, not only to clarify the potential therapeutic properties but also to better understand the cardiovascular and public health implications that now follow the decriminalization of cannabis.”

The Aug. 1 issue of Emergency Medicine Reports is all about understanding CBD, particularly its side effects and how emergency medicine providers should handle patients who may react negatively to CBD consumption.