In Oklahoma, a Medical Marijuana Doctor has the final say in whether or not you end up getting a medical marijuana card. A common symptom of a large number of chronic conditions is elevated blood pressure. Today we will have a look at how and if cannabis can help with elevated blood pressure.
Hypertension is often referred to as the “silent killer’. Elevated blood pressure can wreak havoc on the circulatory system. This is why it is very important to get it into control. Usually, the condition is treatable. A variety of methods including making dietary changes, lifestyle changes, and pharmaceuticals all are used in tandem to help manage high blood pressure. Research, however, is also pointing towards another natural herb as a treatment option- Cannabis.
Does Cannabis Lower Blood Pressure?
To know the answer to this question, we first need to understand how cannabis works. There are two major compounds present in the cannabis plant- one is cannabidiol (CBD) and the other is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Both affect blood pressure.
Cannabis as a whole affects the human body as the cannabinoids present to interact with the human endocannabinoid system.
THC affects the blood pressure depending on the dose, the consumption method, your previous experience with THC, and the condition you are using it for.
CBD on the other hand relaxes the blood vessels and helps decrease the feeling of anxiety which is the reason the blood pressure also falls. So., both CBD and THC help in lowering blood pressure, but the way they do it is different.
But even though they do help it is still not advised that you consider cannabis a way to treat hypertension. It can help manage the symptoms but anything more it really does not.
What Are The Cardiovascular Effects Of Cannabis?
There are multiple studies in this sphere as well. THC products are known to stimulate the heart. Which can lead to an elevated heart rate.
There is a sort of paradox that exists when we talk about cannabis and people using it, When you first smoke cannabis, your blood pressure spikes. But in a couple of minutes, as your body gets used to the effects of cannabis, your blood pressure falls.
Now the thing to note here is that everyone has a different explanation to how much of an elevated heart rate is too much. Another aspect to remember is that studies at this time are also providing inconsistent results about cannabis and its effects on hypertension.
What Are The Studies Saying?
The most recent study carried out by the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and its affiliated Soroka University Medical Center states that in older adults with hypertension there is an improvement. This study is actually the first of its kind to understand cannabis in relation to its impact on blood pressure, heart rate, and other metabolic parameters in adults aged 60 and above.
There are a couple of other studies surrounding hypertension and its effects on high blood pressure. There are two problems that we run into when we talk about most of them. The first is that there is a methodology issue and the other is the fact that most studies have been carried out on rats.
The study with the methodology issue was that it was observational in nature for starters. So, the patient pool was not controlled. This led to inconsistent results. Instead of categorizing people on the basis of if or not, they were regular users of cannabis. Anyone who had even touched marijuana was put into the smoker category. Again, not the most reliable way to get results.
The study on rats, however, was extremely promising. The end result claimed that cannabis only actually affected rats that already had high blood pressure.
Now, another thing that one needs to remember when looking at the results is that when you have high blood pressure, you have an increased number of CB1 receptors. These are the same receptors that are responsible for your sensitivity to marijuana.
The blood pressure in rats did decrease and so this was a successful study in that sense.
Is Hypertension Treatable By Cannabis?
Now, this answer has not been found yet. There are ongoing studies that are promising but nothing has been concrete.
The general belief has been that the endocannabinoid system plays a huge role in the regulation of blood pressure. Which has led researchers to look at the possibility of treating hypertension with the help of manipulating the endocannabinoid system.
We haven’t reached that stage yet. There have been studies on cannabinoids as antihypertensive agents for years now but no medication has been approved as of yet..
As every year passes by there are more and more studies along with anecdotal evidence that points towards understanding cannabis as a herb. But till the day we can confidently say that it is a cure do a check-up with your medical marijuana doctor before using cannabis to manage your hypertension.