Is CBD the Next All-Natural High-Blood Pressure Medicine?
After a quick read through its causes, it’s immediately clear that high blood pressure is a health condition of the modern world. A diet heavy with salt, a lack of exercise, and obesity are just a few of the environmental causes of high blood pressure. One look at the American lifestyle, and it’s easy to see why nearly half of the population suffers from the condition.
Mounting research suggests that cannabidiol (CBD) might work alongside therapeutic lifestyle changes to help regulate hypertension. While therapeutic lifestyle changes are vital for long-term improvements to chronically high blood pressure, acute responses also are needed. Can CBD help blood pressure?
The Problems with Conventional Approaches
Commonly prescribed medications for chronic high blood pressure are beta-blockers, which reduce the heart’s overall workload. Other types of prescriptions open up blood vessels or prevent the production of specific chemicals that cause blood vessel restriction. There are more ways than ever before to treat high blood pressure, but they often come with a host of side effects:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Asthma symptoms
- Cold hands and feet
- Irregular heartbeat
Unsurprisingly, many choose to avoid the problems associated with daily hypertension medications. Instead, people focus on longer-term solutions, such as lifestyle changes and adding natural supplements to their diet, such as potassium. Cannabidiol fits perfectly into this all-natural approach, considering it’s widely understood as safe to use, even over the long-term.
Can CBD Lower Blood Pressure?
If the animal and small-scale human studies are to be believed, CBD can help reduce high blood pressure. In trial after trial, even a single dose of CBD was proven effective for reducing hypertension. In fact, according to the authors of a study published in the June 15, 2017, issue of JCI Insight, “Our data show that a single dose of CBD reduces resting blood pressure and the blood pressure response to stress, particularly cold stress, and especially in the post-test periods.”
The science behind many of CBD’s current medicinal applications remains poorly understood. For instance, although CBD has proven time and time again to treat drug-resistant forms of epilepsy in children effectively, the mechanism through which it does this remains a mystery.
However, CBD oil for treating high blood pressure is a bit different. Over the past two decades, a solid body of research presents an impressive scope of analysis and provides a more detailed understanding of CBD's mechanisms.
How Does CBD Work for Blood Pressure?
To understand why CBD seems to work so efficiently to reduce hypertension, one must first weed through the complex medical terminology often associated with the peer-reviewed articles on the subject. It’s no easy task for the layman to open up a research journal and fully grasp its contents. The science around CBD oil and blood pressure requires a bit of regurgitation, into small, easy to understand, bitesize pieces.
With that in mind, here is a quick summary of the research on CBD as therapy for hypertension; medical definitions included!
Defined as the “reduction in tension of the walls of the blood vessels” or as “decrease of vascular pressure.” Blood pressure is directly related to vasorelaxation.
A research team from the United States focused on CBD’s vasorelaxant characteristics in vitro, meaning in a laboratory setting. They essentially experimented with various aspects of the circulatory system, such as arteries and aortae from both lab rats and humans. Cannabidiol proved to promote vasorelaxation throughout their numerous petri-dish experiments. It also seemed to work well in conjunction with another cannabinoid, THC, for an even greater reduction of blood vessel pressure.
Defined as “relating to the flow of blood within the organs and tissues of the body.”
More research is needed to confirm the results from the few limited studies on CBD as a hemodynamic regulator. While some studies suggest there is limited change in blood pressure, other studies show dramatic and positive results. The difference in results could come down to the structure of the study.
Most trials that concluded CBD reduces blood pressure were examining blood pressure immediately after dosing. Studies exploring CBD for chronic high blood pressure over greater periods tended to find limited changes to hypertension.
In an often-cited study on CBD for social anxiety disorder, researchers did discover that a CBD dose did inhibit a spike in blood pressure as related to a stressful environmental influence (public speaking). It's thought that with a better-defined scope of the study, CBD may prove to reduce other stress-induced blood pressure.
Inflammation and blood pressure often go hand in hand. According to the folks at The Brody School of Medicine in North Carolina, “A possible link between inflammation and elevated blood pressure has been suggested by several cross-sectional and longitudinal studies.” Cannabidiol’s anti-inflammatory properties are well-known, and perhaps one of the reasons for its increasing popularity in alternative medicine. After all, many common diseases and illnesses have a strong inflammatory component.
So, CBD could help reduce blood pressure by reducing chronic inflammation. In a 2010 study, cannabidiol was shown to reduce the inflamed myocardial in rats. The myocardial is the muscular tissues around the heart. This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to CBD oil’s cardiovascular protective qualities. For more information on how CBD could protect your heart, read the article “Cardiovascular Disease and Cannabidiol.”
Caution for Those Taking High Blood Pressure Medications
The science of CBD oil for blood pressure control is compelling, but a word of warning is required. For anyone already taking blood pressure medications, it’s inadvisable to take CBD alongside these medicines without speaking to a doctor first.
Grapefruit and CBD act similarly on hepatic drugs. These are drugs which metabolize in the liver. Although both grapefruit juice and CBD are completely benign substances under most circumstances, they inhibit the liver’s ability to quickly and efficiently process many prescription drugs. Essentially, CBD monopolizes the specific receptors required to break down the drugs.
Until the CBD fully absorbs, there is a chance for increased toxicity of the unabsorbed drugs in the bloodstream. Before making any adjustments to your current daily medication regime, always speak to a healthcare practitioner for accurate information on dosing and possible interactions.