Research Portfolio

Funding Opportunities

Join our Mailing List
Join our mailing list to be notified of new funding opportunities.

Your Email

To receive information about funding opportunities, events, and program updates.

Toxicants and Cardiovascular Effects: Cannabis vs Tobacco

Institution: University of California, San Francisco
Investigator(s): Gideon St. Helen, Ph.D
Award Cycle: 2018 (Cycle 27) Grant #: 27IR-0059 Award: $929,782
Subject Area: Environmental Exposure/Toxicology
Award Type: High Impact Research Project Award

Initial Award Abstract

Legal sale of cannabis to adults for recreational use in California began on January 1, 2018. Despite favorable public perceptions, and widespread and increasing prevalence of use, the health consequences of cannabis use in its various forms are not fully understood. We will be conducting a clinical study to examine toxicant exposure and short-term cardiovascular effects of smoked and vaped cannabis (dry herb) in comparison to tobacco cigarettes. We are comparing cardiovascular disease risks of cannabis to tobacco cigarettes because tobacco cigarette smoking is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases.

In our study, dual cannabis-tobacco smokers will cross over between smoking cannabis, vaping cannabis with PAX dry herb vaporizer, and their usual brand of tobacco cigarettes. Each product will be studied on two consecutive inpatient days at a hospital research ward on different weeks. On the first day, participants will use the assigned product in a standardized session followed by 6 hours of abstinence, during which we collect blood samples, then 2 hours of ad libitum use. We will compared pharmacokinetic, subjective, and physiologic effects. On the second day, participants will use the product as desired during the day. Exposure to toxicants will be measured in 24-hour urine; heart rate and blood pressure will be monitored continuously for 24 hours; and, subjective effects will be measured. Finally, cardiovascular measures and toxicant biomarkers will be assessed on a day of enforced abstinence on the research ward.

The study is timely, given the growing public health concern of cannabis use and expected increasing intensity of use with recreational legalization. The expected findings of the study will help us better understand the potential contributions of cannabis use to cardiovascular disease.