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Does smoking weed and/or drinking alcohol have negative effects on my heart, especially considering my cardiomyopathy?

Hello, I have HCM. I was wondering if smoking weed and drinking alcohol (not at the same time) have negative effects on my heart? I'm an 18 year old male and my case of HCM isn't very bad. I have checkups every year and the thickness in my heart is actually getting smaller. Does this mean smoking and drinking is okay, or do they have long term effects? Thanks. P.S. - I was diagnosed when I was six months old and am currently taking 25mg atenolol twice a day.

submitted by Justin from Minnesota on 11/9/2012


William E. Cohn, MDby Texas Heart Institute cardiovascular surgeon, William E. Cohn, MD  

Hey Justin, while I can't advocate either of those activities, I don't know of any association between marijuana, alcohol, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy [HCM]. We do know that alcohol in excess in predisposed individuals can cause a type of dilated cardiomyopathy, but not the one that you seem to have been affected with. That said, alcohol in excess could make your condition worse. It's good that it doesn't seem to have done that, but I would be cautious if I were you. There is even less known about the effects of marijuana on the heart. I've never heard specifically of any marijuana-related heart conditions... that said, smoking anything is not great for your lungs, and the health of your lungs and heart are intimately connected. Bottom line... what should you do? Hard to know for sure, but as Epictetus, the Greek Sage (AD 55- AD 135) once said, "If one oversteps the bounds of moderation, the greatest pleasures cease to please". Good luck and follow up with your yearly echocardiograms.   

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Updated November 2012
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