There are a number of clinical denominations to this condition: atherosclerotic heart disease (AHD), ischemic heart disease (IHD), coronary artery disease (CAD), but they all refer to thickening of arteries with fatty plaque deposits. This is especially dangerous for arteries feeding the heart with blood, since the fat can bung up the vessels leaving the heart with no blood to disperse. Hypertension (high blood pressure) will most likely accompany the condition due to blood having difficulty to flow normally. Symptoms of atherosclerotic heart disease occur occasionally, and may include chest pain irradiating into the shoulder, neck, arm, back, or jaw. Chest discomfort may feel like heartburn. Symptoms can sometimes be summoned with exercise or emotional stress. They usually last for a few minutes, and can get better with rest.
In recent years AHD has been the most common cause of death worldwide, resulting in a total of 8.14 million deaths. In the majority of cases, the primary cause of AHD is patients’ living and eating habits. Risk factors are smoking, lack of exercise, diabetes, obesity, high blood cholesterol, which typically comes from poor diet, and alcohol misuse. Depression and nervous breakdown are also known risks.
Treatment of moderate AHD condition usually includes two factors – blood dilution, to retain the blood flowing capability, and cholesterol control, to prevent new fatty plaque formations. Aspirin is the most common form of ‘blood thinner’ and has to be taken regularly by patients. While providing a positive effect in regard to AHD, it may also decrease blood coagulability, which will prevent cuts and injuries from healing. The cholesterol blocking medications, on the other hand, require regular blood draws to control their influence on the liver, which produces the body's own natural cholesterol. Hemophiliac patients, or the ones afraid of needles would have a hard time dealing with emotional aspects of such treatment, and emotional stress can make their condition even worse.
Medical marijuana has two specific natural compounds: THCV (a non-psychoactive component) and the well-known THC. These substances combined have been proven in clinical trials to reduce plaque buildup in the arteries of mice. Another study suggests that cannabidol is able to battle liver diseases, obesity, and metabolic disorders, all of which are usual prerequisites of the arteriosclerotic heart disease. Medical marijuana also provides a soothing side effect, which would help overcome stress and depression, not desirable for patients with this condition.