Fainting - damaging / dangerous?

Discussion in 'Medicinal Cannabis and Health' started by alvamadeo, Jun 25, 2008.

  1. alvamadeo

    alvamadeo Registered

    Hi, since childhood, confronted with some situations (taking an injection, withdrawal, etc), I start to feel (not always) dizzy, weak and pale as if I was about to faint.

    But there was two times in my life when I actually fainted for seconds:the first one was watching a movie dealing with health related issues (health and the human body was always a stressful subject to me) and I started to feel hot and so uncomfortable that I had to leave the cinema and I fainted right there at the exit. The second time was after consuming cannabis, I was sitting down and I started to feel strange, my friends were saying I was becoming pale and I stood up and fainted again for seconds.

    On the two occasions I became ok after waking up and I never give much thought about it, but I just read this passage on a site related to medical marijuana and I became a little worried:

    "The overall effect of cannabis use on the frequency of heart attacks is unknown. This can only be ascertained in longitidudinal epidemiological studies. There are some studies and case reports that support the assumption that cannabis use may be harmful in people with coronary disease and may trigger a heart attack. However, this seems to be a very rare event. Cannabis will not cause a heart attack in a healthy person.
    There are some pharmacological effects of cannabis that may act preventive and some that may be damaging.

    Factors that may be damaging:
    - Changes of blood pressure. Cannabis may cause the blood pressure to increase when the person is lying down, and to decrease when the person stands up."

    What kind of damage are they referring to? can it be brain damage (due to low oxygen in the brain) or heart damage?

    If any of the physicians on this forum could help I would greatly appreciate.

    Thank you
  2. What makes you think there are physicians here? :hippy:

    PS if u got up and then fainted next time dont get up so fast.
  3. psteve

    psteve Registered+

    The cannabis is not 'causing' the problem.
    It is a warning sign.
    If you pass out or get vertigo (the 'spins') after smoking cannabis, you should go see a doctor right away, and have your blood sugar and pressure checked. You may have a REAL problem, not related to cannabis use.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. silkyblue

    silkyblue Registered+

    faintings one of the things in life that sucks

    I almost fainted once but I was pregnant

    ya gotta breath honey

    breath deep always

    you swooned

  5. birdgirl73

    birdgirl73 Registered+

    Alvamadeo, I'm not a physician. I'm a third year medical student. My husband is a cardiopulmonary physician but he's on call tonight and not here. We do have a mod who is a physician who may come through and see this and give his opinion one of these days.

    The fainting you're describing is most likely something called vasovagal syncope. I know this not only because I've absorbed a lot of circulatory medicine over the years from my husband and studied this in school but also because I have it myself on occasion. Here's a link about it:
    Vasovagal syncope - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Basically what happens is a stressor of some type triggers an area in your brain that then triggers your parasympathetic nervous system, which basically "retreats." As a result, your blood pressure drops. In some people, the heart rate drops. In others, it doesn't. But what happens with the quick drop in BP is a brief loss of consciousness.

    In the vast majority of people vasovagal syncope is harmless, but in a small, small group--and this group is actually having a slightly different type of syncope, but the symptoms are the same--fainting could be a sign of a serious problem with your heart rhythm called "long QT syndrome." This problem can be genetically carried, so if you know of others in your family who've had to be put on meds or have an implanted defibrillator installed for a potentially deadly heart rhythm, you should get to your doctor and get your fainting episodes further evaluated (with an EKG and a thorough history).

    The part of your question where you ask about heart attack risk and cannabis is a completely separate second question. We're really not talking about "heart attacks," which is a medically ambiguous term, when we talk about fainting. The type of cardiac event involved in long QT syndrome is cardiac arrest, where the heart goes into a deadly rhythm and then simply stops. Your fainting in the instance after you'd used cannabis was likely caused by a quick alteration to your blood pressure. It could have spiked up or fallen suddenly. In your case it likely fell. Either way, it stimulated your parasympathetic nervous system and you lost consciousness temporarily. Probably harmless, but if you have the genetics for long QT syndrome, that's not something you'd want to let go unevaluated.

    As the information you copied above says, the frequency of cannabis causing heart attacks is unknown because it's not been studied and because people who die of heart attacks can't come back to tell us whether they'd just been smoking it. Since it's an illicit substance in most states, its frequency of use isn't really known. What we do know is that, in people for whom certain strains or simply the act of smoking raises blood pressure, that can trigger a "heart attack" or a stroke. Probably these are people who already have a history and risk of heart disease. We also know that the smoking of cannabis isn't great for people's hearts or lungs. Not because of cannabis' active ingredients--if you could take those by themselves they'd be beneficial--but because of the act of smoking itself. In people at risk for heart disease, inhaling burning vegetable matter and the other particulate crap in the smoke competes with their oxygen intake, irritates the lungs, and can do bad things to vascular elasticity and plaque buildup. Again, it's important that we're real clear here. This is from the act of smoking burning vegetable matter, not the active ingredients. Vaping and eating cannabis are much heart-healthier alternatives.

    Till you get yourself seen about, it'd be wise for you not to smoke anything. You also should avoid exercise and/or great stress. You have only a tiny chance of having the long QT syndrome, but till you know, it's important that you not risk bringing it on.

    Sorry for the long answer! I'm now having to be able to explain stuff like this when professors and interns and residents put me on the spot during my rotations so it was a good teaching review for me. Hope this helps.
    • Like Like x 2
    • Winner Winner x 1
  6. Who is the physician?
  7. Dieseld725

    Dieseld725 Registered

    Possible Panic Attacks..

    I have been recovering from Panic Disorder for about 10 years. My attacks have been once every many months now. Marijuana triggered them. I saw a doctor...he was referred to me because the original STRONG attacks occurred right after I smoked. He was possibly a user because he knew exactly what i was using. He asked if it were Sativa...MD asking specifics of weed is a weed head. He told me to stop using 'cuz brain is not agreeing with the mild hallucinagen that I was smoking. Yes, fellow, potheads, weed can have side effects that are bad just like every single thing in this world. Someone is going to be allergic to something. THere has been strong evidence of people that i see on chat and forums that start to have panic after fsmoking. What do you think 3 year med student? I have tried 2-3 times for past 10 or so years to see if I can tolerate ...even with scwagg. It still gives me an attack. Well, I look at it as not smoking my profits for I sell to professionals and medical need patients. I dont mess with stupidity. WOuld love to smoke again. I love the smell and what not. It just gives me a headached and an attack. Sux..oh well... i still got my beer.:D
  8. birdgirl73

    birdgirl73 Registered+

    That'd be the moderator FakeBoobsRule.

    Panic's real common after smoking, particularly after sativas, and cannabis often doesn't agree with people who have anxiety disorders. You'll have to believe me on this next part: A doctor wouldn't have to be a weedhead to know that sativas can aggravate panic or anxiety. He or she would simply have to be someone who has listened in class to the widely available, and well understood, side effects of herbals and/or illicit substances. They cover that in medical school.

    If weed doesn't suit you, it doesn't suit you. Goodness knows anxiety is miserable enough that you don't want to bring it on intentionally. Often I've heard others on these boards recommend to the people who have trouble with sativas and/or schwag to order yourself some indica seeds and grow your own if you are bound and determined to smoke. Indica or indica-dominant varieties are more sedating and mellowing, but they're much harder to find, from what I've read here, unless you live in a medical state and can obtain it from a dispensary with a prescription.
    • Like Like x 2
  9. John Mansour-Dumas

    John Mansour-Dumas Registered

    birdgirl73 you're reply really helped me (11 years later). I was at band rehearsal and I was taken by paramedics to ER. And after my CT Scan which was normal, I was diagnosed with Syncope (Vasovagal). I'm on blood pressure meds and my BP was 90/50. This all happened after smoking. I had a lot of the triggers mentioned on Wikipedia and WebMD plus tried to find info on the FDA's site. (I think I know where the government can save money). I hope your still getting notifications and can reply with anything else that would be helpful. I am going to my primary care physician but I don't want Tetrahydrocannabinol on my records.

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