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CBD Effects on Blood Pressure
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If you want to use CBD oil for high blood pressure (hypertension), you should talk with your doctor first. They may be able to recommend a dose of CBD to help manage your condition.
Typically, as with most medications, you should start at a single dose that is low and work your way up to a dose that works best for you and manage your hypertension. Taking too much CBD can lead to unwanted side effects  .
The degree to which the endocannabinoid system plays a role in regulating blood pressure has long inspired researchers to examine if we could treat hypertension by manipulating the endocannabinoid system.
Nonetheless, a Harvard Medical School study concluded that for an hour after consuming cannabis (especially in at-risk populations; e.g. seniors), the odds of suffering a heart attack increases by five times. Risk returns to normal within two hours. Notably, sex carries a comparable risk increase. This begs the question: does combining cannabis and sex exponentially increase one’s chances of a heart attack? We’re eagerly awaiting a follow-up study from Harvard to answer this question.
Further, many research findings are highly generalized, focusing on THC while neglecting consideration of the numerous other cannabinoids. Logically, a cannabis strain high in the psychoactive cannabinoid THC would yield different results from a strain high in the largely non-intoxicating cannabinoid CBD.
Cannabis and Stroke or Heart Attack
Notably, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism published a report concluding “endocannabinoids tonically suppress cardiac contractility in hypertension,” and that “targeting the endocannabinoid system offers novel therapeutic strategies in the treatment of hypertension.”
Users can develop a tolerance to the initial effects over a period of a few days to weeks, and repeated use has been associated with lowered heart rate and blood pressure immediately following consumption. Anecdotally, many people report that cannabis helps them maintain healthy blood pressure levels, an effect supported by research studies.
On the other hand, if you’re standing up when you imbibe, blood pressure may decrease without ever initially increasing. However, there isn’t a lot of published data verifying this effect. (If you’ve done your own comparative measurements, feel free to share in the comments section below!)
Perhaps most frustrating, published studies investigating differences between consumption methods – such as the effects of smoking cannabis versus ingested edibles – are essentially nonexistent.
There may be other effects of marijuana on blood pressure that health practitioners have yet to discover. All potential effects depend on the individual’s existing health problems, especially co-morbid conditions such as diabetes and obesity.
Goldstein explained, “Smoking cannabis can be harmful for those with heart disease or hypertension since the smoke contains carbon monoxide. This gas binds to the hemoglobin in red blood cells, displacing oxygen off of the red blood cells which results in less oxygen going to the body’s tissues, including the heart. People with heart disease or high blood pressure should avoid smoking.”
“THC can affect blood pressure depending on the dose, the route of administration, a person’s experience with THC, and a person’s underlying health. Healthy volunteers that took THC had an increase in heart rate and decrease in blood pressure. In studies where people used THC while lying down, they had elevated blood pressure. When they stood up, their blood pressure dropped and they experienced low blood pressure.”
While it is possible for warfarin and other medications to interact with cannabis, there are no guarantees, and the 2017 study focused on patients with epilepsy rather than on the general population. As Dr. Bone reported, “In my private practice, I have not encountered a significant negative interaction between blood pressure medication and cannabis.”
Another frequently asked question about cannabis and cardiovascular health is: can weed cause a heart attack?
Goldstein added, “CBD does not appear to have the same risks for the heart as THC and in fact, appears to be somewhat cardioprotective.” To support this assertion, Goldstein cited a 2010 study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology in which researchers concluded that CBD has therapeutic potential in treating complications of diabetes, as well as some cardiovascular disorders. Most notably, CBD could reduce inflammation, a condition that can ultimately damage the blood vessels, arteries, and vital organs. So, if you apply CBD oil to your skin or swallow a few tablespoons, the impact could differ greatly than if you smoked a blunt.
Dr. Bonni Goldstein, a medical adviser to Weedmaps and the director of Canna-Centers in Lawndale, California, outlined the potential effects of THC on blood pressure: