Cardiovascular Health & CBD
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States with over 610,000 deaths per year. We all know that proper diet, regular exercise, and avoiding tobacco are the best ways to keep the heart healthy, but hearts are delicate. There are a number of diseases that can affect a heart and many of the medications cause problems down the line or interfere with the quality of life of those who take them.
But there may be a new treatment on the horizon. CBD oil studies are showing some positive effects on blood pressure and inflammation that could point toward its use as a heart medication.
What Is Heart Disease?
There are several diseases of the heart, but the most common killer is atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. In this disease, damage to the arteries causes them to become less elastic and puts extra pressure on the heart over time. Furthermore, it allows cholesterol to build up on the artery walls, narrowing the passages and raising blood pressure.
When the heart doesn’t receive enough blood, there isn’t enough oxygen reaching it. When there isn’t enough oxygen, the cells in the heart start to die off. Furthermore, in those crucial moments when the heart starts to fail, oxygenated blood may not reach other parts of the body, causing damage elsewhere.
Good blood flow is also crucial to prevent clotting in the body. If blood gets too thick and too slow thanks to blocked blood vessels, stroke-causing clots could form. This is why stroke and heart disease are interrelated, and why so many people with heart problems have to take blood thinners as a precaution.
Once heart disease starts to develop, it’s difficult or impossible to reverse. That’s why early detection and ongoing treatment are so important. While many of the studies on CBD and heart disease are small, the results are extremely promising.
CBD Oil for Heart Disease
Treating High Blood Pressure
It’s common for people who take cannabis to feel quite relaxed, which is great for stress levels and for reducing pressure on the heart. That’s not due to THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis. That’s due to CBD. There are several studies that have shown that CBD oil is an effective treatment for lowering blood pressure.
In a randomized cross-over study, male volunteers were given 600 mg of CBD oil or placebo. The volunteers then had their resting blood pressure measured as well as after exercise and cold stress. CBD lowered the systolic BP of the participants by around five points, though it also increased heart rate. More subjects and study are needed before it can be determined if CBD can replace other existing heart medications like metoprolol, but it’s an excellent first step.
Due to how CBD interacts with our endocannabinoid system, much of its beneficial effects may be due to a reduction of inflammation. Stress and anxiety produce inflammation responses in the body that are implicated in heart disease. An overactive inflammation system can slowly damage the arteries so they start to harden. That’s why some researchers have investigated CBD’s effect on the inflammation response.
In animal studies, one study measured the effects of CBD on oxidative stress in mice that were diabetic. Oxidative stress is a marker of inflammation and heart disease. The results were encouraging. Not only was there a reduction in stress, but there were less cell death and fibrosis. The researchers hope to expand the study to humans.
As if the benefits above weren’t enough, there’s even evidence that high doses of CBD might be useful to help with arrhythmia in heart patients. An arrhythmia is when your heart beats incorrectly, whether too fast, slow, or at the wrong rhythm. Rodent studies that use CBD to treat an arrhythmia showed promising results.
Arrhythmia is often a sign that heart disease has started or is growing worse. Thanks to our ability to tolerate CBD really well, one day we might see CBD pills recommended as the first treatment for any heart worries before going to the hospital. Anything that could help treat heart trouble at the first signs would be another weapon in the fight against this terrible disease.
All of these results on CBD and heart disease have been promising, but before you can turn to your cardiologist for a CBD-based version of your heart medicine more studies will need to be done. That said, some cardiologists are already experimenting with this treatment to help patients reduce their dependence on more dangerous medications. If you have high blood pressure or a history of heart disease, talk with your doctor about using CBD as a way to reduce your risk of heart disease. The more evidence that doctors can collect, the sooner will know just how effective CBD is for keeping your heart healthy.
It’s always better to consults a doctor to figure out which treatment is the best for your condition. The doctors at Dr. Green Relief will be able to tell you if using CBD oil is what you need.