High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a condition that affects 1 in 3 Americans. With this condition, the pressure in the blood vessels is increased, which can lead to other health problems—including heart attacks.
There are many underlying factors that can cause high blood pressure. For example, anxiety, stress, obesity, and chronic pain are sometimes the cause.
While many people with high blood pressure take blood pressure medications, some are looking to address the underlying contributors to their high blood pressure.
Lifestyle and alternative therapies are becoming increasingly popular. Therapies that influence stress, inflammation, and pain are of particular interest. CBD products have been in the limelight recently, and we are beginning to understand their potential role in helping people address some health conditions, including pain, anxiety, and seizures.
In this article, we explore what we know about using CBD for high blood pressure.
CBD for High Blood Pressure: Just the Facts
High blood pressure is common in the United States. Research on CBD has found that it positively influences stress, anxiety, inflammation, and pain, which are often implicated as contributing to high blood pressure. In addition, animal studies and preliminary human studies support the positive effects of using CBD for high blood pressure. While more research is needed, the current view is promising.
High Blood Pressure: What You Need to Know
When a person has high blood pressure, the pressure of the blood flowing within their vessels is stronger than it should be. This puts a strain on the heart as well as the blood vessels themselves.
In many cases, a person can have high blood pressure and not experience any symptoms at all. This means a person may not know they have high blood pressure until their blood pressure is taken at the doctor’s office. Therefore, a person can experience the damaging effects of high blood pressure on their cardiovascular system for a long period of time without knowing anything is wrong.
The Health Risks of Having High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure damages the blood vessels over time. Long-term high blood pressure can lead to health issues, including kidney disease, eye disease, heart attacks, heart failure, and strokes. In addition, inflammation in the body can further increase these risks, as it makes blood vessels more vulnerable to damage.
To reduce the risk of developing these conditions, an effective therapy to lower blood pressure is required.
Causes of High Blood Pressure
There are many causes of high blood pressure. In some cases, it’s due to an underlying health condition such as kidney disease. In other cases, it develops due to lifestyle choices such as smoking, drinking alcohol excessively, or being overweight.
Conventional Approaches to High Blood Pressure
The treatment of high blood pressure depends on the underlying cause. If a person smokes, is overweight, does not exercise, and eats a poor diet, changing these habits is usually the first step. In addition, reducing stress is often a factor.
If lifestyle changes are not enough to bring blood pressure into a healthy range, a person will likely be prescribed medication such as a beta-blocker, or possibly a diuretic. The goal of these medications is either to slow down how hard the heart pumps the blood, or to reduce the amount of fluid passing through the blood vessels. Both of these actions will lower a person’s blood pressure.
Medications are typically very effective for lowering blood pressure. However, they do not always address the underlying cause of a person’s high blood pressure. As previously mentioned, stress, anxiety, chronic pain, and other factors may be the reason a person experiences high blood pressure. Obesity and diabetes are also associated with high blood pressure.
Therapies to address these underlying factors, as well as reduce inflammation, are something many people with high blood pressure consider.
Using CBD for High Blood Pressure
CBD has become a hot topic in terms of what it can do for your health. Since CBD products have become legal in all 50 states, more research into their use for health conditions is being conducted. And people who choose to use CBD to help with some of their health issues have a variety of choices. CBD comes in tinctures, oils for vaping and vaping pens, edibles (like gummies), and even lotions that can be applied topically to assist with pain relief.
The research on using CBD for high blood pressure is just beginning. However, our current knowledge of how CBD affects inflammation, stress, and anxiety provides optimism for its effectiveness in helping ease high blood pressure by addressing some of the underlying causes of the condition.
Understanding What CBD Is
CBD is the more common name for cannabidiol. It is one of the dozens of cannabinoids found in cannabis plant products. Unlike the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it does not have any psychoactive properties and will not cause you to feel “high.”
CBD is derived from the industrial hemp plant, which is a type of cannabis plant. It’s in the same family as marijuana, but it’s not the same plant. The main difference in these plants, and the products that can be made using them, is the level of THC they contain. CBD products contain less than 0.3% THC, which means they can be produced, sold, and used legally throughout the U.S.
Some people may experience a few side effects when taking CBD. Most side effects are mild, and can include fatigue, diarrhea, dry mouth, and nausea.
What the Research Says about Using CBD for High Blood Pressure
Currently, few research studies have been conducted on the use of CBD for high blood pressure.
The results of one study were published by The American Society for Clinical Investigation. In this small, randomized, placebo-controlled study, nine men were given a single dose of CBD (600 mg of CBD) during times of increased stress. The researchers found that CBD was effective at lowering the participants’ blood pressure. The results of this study are promising; however, it is still unknown if using CBD can help lower blood pressure over the long term, or if it is only effective for short-term situations.
As stated earlier, there have not yet been many human studies conducted on the effects of using CBD for high blood pressure. However, researchers have found that CBD has a positive effect on cardiovascular health in animal studies.
Researchers discovered that CBD had a potent anti-inflammatory effect on the blood vessels of the heart in animal subjects. Since inflammation makes vessels more vulnerable to damage by high blood pressure and is a major factor in heart disease, this finding supports the idea that CBD can potentially be of value in addressing issues of heart health and high blood pressure.
Recent studies on CBD and its effects on anxiety have garnered positive results. Anxiety and stress are two major factors of high blood pressure in some people, and they cause an increase in heart rate. Therefore, it may be possible that using CBD for reducing anxiety and stress could be of benefit for some people who have high blood pressure.
How CBD Works
There has been quite a bit of research on how CBD works. The main effect CBD has is on the endocannabinoid system. This is a system that’s found throughout our brains and bodies, which has an influence on our emotions as well as pain levels and inflammation.
It has been found that the cannabinoids in CBD stimulate the receptors in the endocannabinoid system and result in lower levels of anxiety, inflammation, and pain. Research on this system is in its infancy; however, the more we discover about it, the more areas of health we are finding connections to.
A Summary of What the Research Says
There have been few studies on CBD for high blood pressure.
A one study found that CBD was effective at lowering blood pressure during a time of stress.
Animal studies have found that CBD protects blood vessels of the heart from inflammatory damage.
CBD has been shown to be effective at reducing anxiety, which is often a contributing factor in high blood pressure.
CBD stimulates the endocannabinoid system, which helps to lower anxiety, stress, pain, and inflammation, which influence cardiovascular health.
Final Thoughts on Using CBD for High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure affects millions of people. And while research into the benefits of CBD is still fairly new, it has so far been shown to have positive effects on many health conditions—including seizures, anxiety, inflammation, and pain.
Keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration does not currently regulate CBD products. As a result, it can be more challenging to know if the CBD you purchase is high quality and contains what the label says it does. Make sure you buy products that are third-party tested, and always use a trusted source to find the best CBD products on the market.
If you are thinking about trying CBD, always have a conversation with your health care provider first. High blood pressure can cause many health risks, so do not change your regime without medical supervision.