Hypertension, or high blood pressure, impact millions of people around the world each day. In the United States alone, nearly one-third of the adult population suffers from high blood pressure. If not treated properly, hypertension can often lead to critical life-altering events such as heart disease, stroke or even death.
Among the many traditional pharmaceutical and dietary changes regularly prescribed by health care professionals, cannabinoids have lately emerged as a means to battle high blood pressure in individuals. With more and more states decriminalizing cannabis consumption, people are interested in knowing the benefits of usage on their own hypertension.
Regulation of our own body’s functions is largely done in part by the endocannabinoid system. This is a biological system that promotes our well-being by keeping the many functions of the body in balance. Among other things, it standardizes motor activity and controls memory processing. Just as important, it encourages the cardiovascular and respiratory systems by controlling heart rate and by keeping blood pressure in check.
A variety of cannabinoid receptors (CB) are found within the body that influence the central nervous, gastrointestinal and immune systems. The endocannabinoids that fit into these receptors are the chemical messengers that regulate almost every system in the body. When this system becomes, damaged, disrupted or unbalanced, our bodies become susceptible to disease.
Initiating a daily exercise routine and a healthy diet can maintain and boost our endocannabinoid systems. In addition, cannabis supplementation can also prove beneficial when introduced on a daily basis. There are dozens of different plant-based cannabinoids – including many variations of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD), and each one can have slightly different interactions with the CB receptors throughout your body.
Short term studies have already revealed the benefits of introducing cannabinoids as a means of lowering high blood pressure. For example, THC is said to mimic the body’s natural production of anandamide. This chemical helps to relax the blood vessels within our body, thus allowing blood to flow more easily throw our cardiovascular system. These same studies show us how CBD also permits a healthy flow of blood in the vessels to normalize blood pressure. CBD also has anxiolytic and pain-relieving effects which help lessen resting blood pressure and hypertension associated with stress. A 2017 study conducted on adult males revealed that CBD was able to reduce systolic blood pressure (or the force on your arteries as your heart pumps blood), by an average of 5 mmHg before and after stress. It was also able to reduce the systolic pressure by 6 mmHg during rest. These results are certainly encouraging and will beg for further longitudinal studies to be conducted and shared.
Interested in learning more about how cannabinoids can impact your blood pressure? Schedule a visit with Emerald Health Advocates to discuss your questions and concerns.