Updated on January 25, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is an extremely prevalent condition that affects most Americans. It’s caused by the blood pressure in your arteries becoming too high. Often, arteries become narrower and more blood is pumped by your heart. If not caught and managed with the assistance of a healthcare professional, it can cause damage to your heart and blood vessels and lead to other serious complications, like:
There are several different types of hypertension. However, the most common kind — which is seen in 95 percent of cases — is called primary or essential hypertension. This is diagnosed when a physician notes a patient’s blood pressure has been high for three or more visits. There is no known cause for this type of high blood pressure, but some factors such as smoking, diet, heredity and more can contribute to it.
Although most doctors prescribe some kind of blood pressure medication, there may be a more effective option. Cannabidiol (CBD) meds are available in many states all over the U.S. and could be a safer and more natural method of lowering blood pressure.
The body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) is not fully understood, but experts are realizing just how vital a role it plays in our health and well-being. The ECS is made up of receptors found in almost every part of the body, as well as biochemicals that play a role in many bodily functions such as immunity, mood, sensations of pain and more.
It’s the endocannabinoid system’s job to bring balance to other systems. For example, when the immune system activates an inflammatory response to infection, the ECS releases anti-inflammatories to keep a person’s inflammation from getting out of hand.
In much the same way, chemicals released by the endocannabinoid system play a similar role in cardiovascular function. The ECS releases anandamide, a chemical produced by the body which relaxes blood vessels and helps lower blood pressure. Unfortunately, blood pressure can increase at a rate the ECS can’t keep up with, resulting in hypertension.
Since the 1970s, researchers have observed the endocannabinoid system’s role in regulating blood pressure. Even then, they hypothesized that cannabinoid therapy could be used to treat hypertension. Cannabinoid therapy is the use of the cannabinoids found in marijuana to treat medical conditions.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the most recognized of cannabis’ cannabinoids because of its psychoactive side effects and dominant presence in the plant. However, CBD — the other most prominent compound in marijuana — has been gaining more popular attention because of its healthful benefits and the fact that it doesn’t get users high. Today, many cannabinoid medications are available with a high concentration of CBD extract.
Cannabinoids derived from marijuana, especially CBD, can be used in medicine to treat several different medical conditions. They bind to our body’s endocannabinoid receptors in much the same way as our body’s naturally produced cannabinoids, which gives them the ability to treat various disorders, including hypertension.
Although some research shows CBD may increase blood pressure initially, after a short period of time, blood pressure stabilizes. After repeated use, the initial spike in blood pressure ceases to occur. Although more research would aid our understanding of how CBD can be used to lower blood pressure, these findings are a positive step forward for patients with hypertension.
There are many medications in the pharmaceutical world that help patients manage their blood pressure. Depending on the cause of your hypertension and what your physician feels is right for you, they may prescribe diuretics, beta blockers, alpha blockers, calcium channel blockers or another drug. These, however, all have potential negative side effects.
CBD, though it’s derived from the marijuana plant, is non-psychoactive. It’s both safe and natural, with limited side effects only some users experience. Although it is still federally banned, many states have medical marijuana programs that grant patients access to these medications.
There are many types of CBD treatments on the market, depending on your symptoms and ingestion preference, including:
It’s important to consider which method of consumption is best for you before taking CBD medications. Your doctor may have a recommendation, and if that’s the case, you can work with them to find an appropriate delivery method. However, there are a few facts you can consider before your appointment.
Smoking and vaporizing are not necessarily the best medicating systems for patients with high blood pressure, as this can exacerbate their condition. Topicals, also, are not the most effective method because they are meant for external issues. If a patient wishes to use CBD, they may want to consider oral tinctures they can apply under their tongue, or capsules with CBD oil. These allow the essential meds to be absorbed into the bloodstream.
If you would like more information about CBD medications or wish to become a patient in your state’s medical marijuana program, make an appointment with a marijuana doctor in your state. They can answer your questions and help you determine if you qualify.
Learn more about High Blood Pressure and what makes medical marijuana an effective treatment for High Blood Pressure’s symptoms.