If you tuned into Kevin Smith on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Tuesday then you probably heard the life-affirming anecdote about his heart attack. Indeed, Smith looked happy to be alive, bouncing on the couch as he told Colbert of his seemingly rather pleasant brush with death and medical treatment.
One major feature of the story was the incredible amount of weed that Smith had smoked before his heart attack. At first, he says, he thought his symptoms were caused by over-smoking. “I honestly thought I was too high,” he said. “I’d smoked a bunch of weed that day because I was doing the show and then I smoked a joint right before the show and then I got off stage and all of the sudden I had a heart attack.”
The director of Clerks worried that maybe all that cannabis had actually caused the coronary, and said he told the doctor, “I hate to ask this question, man, but did I have a heart attack because of the weed? Because I smoked a joint right before the show.” But the doctor said it was “quite the opposite.”
“That weed saved your life,” the doctor told him him. “He said, you kept calm…they told you [you] were going through stuff and you kept calm the whole time, so that joint saved your life.”
Smith looks good and we’re all glad he survived a 100% blockage of his artery, but we can’t help but thinking that this isn’t exactly the most sound medical advice we’ve ever heard. Some studies have linked heart attacks to cannabis. While smoking weed regularly won’t significantly change the chances of you having a heart attack in life, the same way smoking cigarettes or eating bad food will, those who do have cardiovascular issues could be five times as likely to suffer a heart attack within an hour of toking.
According to a report from Harvard, cannabinoids have complex effects on the body, which in most cases are fairly innocuous, such as “raising resting heart rate, dilating blood vessels, and making the heart pump harder.” So, maybe that joint did give Kevin Smith his heart attack, but maybe it saved him too.