A 26-year-old man in Australia who used cannabis every day has developed a rare form of disease known as cannabis arteritis, which is now preventing a serious wound on his foot from healing properly.

The Frankston native was taken to the hospital after noticing that the ulcer on one of his big toes doesn't seem to heal. He said that he had been using more than 1 gram of marijuana for the past few days leading up to his hospitalization.

Dr. David Soon, a member of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS), said that the patient's daily use of marijuana has caused plaque to build up around the artery of his big toe, which prevents the wound to close up and heal.

Soon explained that using cannabis can cause the periphery blood vessels of a person to tighten up, effectively increasing resistance. This causes large amounts of plaque to build up around the arteries, making them narrower and preventing blood from flowing accordingly.

The doctor, who presented his findings during the Annual Scientific Congress (ASC) in Brisbane, said that the case of the Frankston man is the first instance that cannabis arteritis has been detected in Australia. The first few cases of this rare peripheral vascular disease have were identified in Europe from 1960 to 2008.

Cannabis arteritis is known to cause the formation of lesions on the arteries. The condition is closely associated with long-term and daily use of cannabis.

Those who develop this peripheral vascular disease are subjected to limb amputation in severe cases. However, in the Frankston man's case, doctors opted to treat his wound through the use of a balloon catheter (balloon angioplasty). The patient will also have to take aspirin for the rest of his life.

While cannabis arteritis is considered to be a rare condition, Soon said that doctors around the country should know more about it. He added that people who are diagnosed with the disease would have better prognoses if they stop using cannabis.

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