Photo via Gage Skidmore
Director, comedian, and silent actor Kevin Smith suffered a massive heart attack two months ago, as doctors discovered a 100% blockage of his left anterior descending artery — a particularly deadly occurrence dubbed the “widow-maker” for its 80% fatality rate. Thankfully, Smith has made a full recovery, and in addition to his hard-working doctors, Smith has praised cannabis for saving him during the life-threatening coronary.
In an interview on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” this week, Smith said that the heart attack began immediately following the taping of a new stand-up special, when he fell ill in his dressing room. After a visit from paramedics and a ride to the hospital, Smith’s “widow-maker” was diagnosed and he was sent to surgery.
Because the Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back star had been smoking copious amounts of weed throughout the day, sparking a joint directly before hitting the stage to perform, Smith asked a doctor if pot had helped cause the heart attack, and was relieved to receive at least one bit of good news.
“He goes, ‘No, quite the opposite. That weed saved your life,’” Smith told Colbert. “And I was like, ‘Do tell, man. What do you mean?’ He said, ‘You kept calm. They told you you were having a massive heart attack, and you remained calm the whole time, so that joint saved your life.’ I was like, ‘I’m putting that on a T-shirt.’”
But while the reported cannabis-induced calm may have helped Smith’s body stabilize during the massive heart attack, at least one doctor saw Silent Bob’s story and wanted to set the record straight, asserting that weed likely didn’t save Smith’s life, and could have even influenced the heart malfunction in the first place.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, cardiologist Pravin Patil, director of the cardiovascular disease training program at Temple University’s Katz School of Medicine, isn’t sold on Smith’s stoned savior tale.
“I find it really unusual that a doctor would’ve suggested that [cannabis helped save Smith’s life] to a gentleman presenting with an acute coronary syndrome,” Patil told the Inquirer.
Because cannabis is still a federally scheduled drug with no accepted medical use, research into the plant’s effects on cardiovascular health are still sparse and preliminary, but in defending his point, Patil and Inquirer writer Tom Avril cited a study from last year in which scientists examined more than 20 million patient records and found that cannabis users were at a higher risk of contracting heart disease.
Looking back after Smith’s successful recovery, both assertions could be true, with Smith’s cannabis use possibly having unknown effects on his cardiovascular system while also keeping him calm during his heart attack. But until clinical cannabis research can give us concrete answers, making causal claims about marijuana and heart attacks is still speculative at best.
In the end though, we’re just happy that Smith is alive, healthy, and back to living his best life, with or without weed.