A man in Australia has undergone treatment for a rare arterial disease caused by daily cannabis use.
The unnamed 26-year-old man was reportedly treated at Frankston Hospital in Frankston, Victoria, after a wound on his big toe failed to properly heal. The condition is called cannabis arteritis and is believed to be the first of its kind in Australia.
According to Dr. David Soon, a surgeon at Brisbane’s Royal Australasian Scientific Congress, the man suffered a plaque buildup around an artery in his big toe after continued daily cannabis use.
“Cannabis usage can cause the periphery blood vessel to tighten up and therefore increasing the resistance, and therefore increasing the amount of plaque depositing around the arteries, and therefore eventually narrowing the artery,” he said.
According to Dr. Soon, despite the fact that the condition is rare, “this illness should be known and made aware to physicians around Australia.” He went on to say that patients’ prognoses improved after they ceased using cannabis.
The patient in question was treated with a balloon catheter and will have to take aspirin for his condition for the rest of his life. However, a more serious case of the condition could lead to limb amputation.
Dr. Soon warned that the recent passage of medical-cannabis legislation in Victoria necessitated an awareness of the condition among the area’s surgeons.
“Due to the increase in cannabis usage and the legalisation of medicinal cannabis, awareness of this condition is important and may become a growing problem in the future,” he said.