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Models for prospective studies of marijuana's cardiac effects

Institution: University of California, San Francisco
Investigator(s): Matthew Springer,
Award Cycle: 2019 (Cycle 29) Grant #: T29IP0490 Award: $499,316
Subject Area: Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Disease
Award Type: High Impact Pilot Award

Initial Award Abstract
We are planning to submit a large NIH grant application that would range from lab-level experiments in rats to investigate cardiovacular physiology, human-level studies of people who use and are exposed to marijuana, and "big data" studies to follow cardiovascular function in large groups of people who use various forms of marijuana over several years. Such a large scale grant proposal will require considerable preliminary results. Marijuana use has been reported to increase the risk of heart attack and heart failure, although it is not clear whether this is a result of cannabinoids or the smoke itself; more research of a controlled prospective nature would be very informative. While we have experience in studying physiological effects of marijuana smoke and aerosol from marijuana loose leaf vaporizers (like the Volcano) in rat models, our studies have been mainly devoted to studying blood vessel function and we have not explored the effects of inhaled forms of marijuana on the heart, both from the cannabinoid components and non-specific smoke components. In this resubmitted Pilot proposal, we will determine whether we can model the impact of marijuana smoke or vaporizer aerosol exposure on a several physiological properties of the heart to determine which are appropriate to serve as the basis for the planned major grant; thus, the pilot grant project (if successful) will directly lead to major funding afterward as it is intended to do. In a series of pilot aims, we will determine if mainstream smoke, secondhand smoke, or leaf vapor from marijuana with and without cannabinoids influences left ventricular cardiac function, cardiac response to heart attack, and electrophysiology parameters.