Are cannabis users suitable candidates for heart transplants? While they are currently not considered to be, a new study indicates this could be wrong. Scientists from Indiana University School of Medicine analyzed more than 200 publications, reviews pre- and post-heart transplant considerations connected to marijuana use and released their findings in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure.
Researchers came to the conclusion that the medical community should reexamine its understanding of cannabis use and heart transplantation, writes the IU School of Medicine. This implies the potential for an entirely new approach to identifying suitable heart transplant candidates.
The study’s lead author, Onyedika Ilonze, MD called the cannabis-heart transplant issue controversial.
“This is a dilemma in a time of increasingly favorable legislation regarding medical and recreational cannabis use,” said Ilonze, assistant medicine professor at IU and member of the Cardiovascular Institute. “The dilemma is compounded by a rising need for heart transplants.”
Ilonze and his colleagues discovered that clinicians’ decision not to select cannabis users as acceptable candidates for heart transplants is founded on old data or has no scientific significance.
“Clinician bias, lack of consensus, and a dearth of research limit standard decision-making and worsen disparities in heart transplantation,” he said.
The research also pointed to other key areas that should be further analyzed.
“We need to learn more about the interactions between cannabis and immunosuppressants, and to study the association between cannabis use and transplant survival,” Ilonze added. “Clarifying this will move us forward and help us establish a standardized evaluation process.”
This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been reposted with permission.