Hypertension or High Blood Pressure is a long term medical condition in which the patient suffers from elevated blood pressure. Obesity, smoking and excess of salt in diet may lead to hypertension. While seeming like a petty disease, hypertension may lead to coronary artery disease, heart failure, vision loss and kidney failure.
Cannabis against Hypertension
Since cannabis has been found to be effective against many diseases, researchers want to know if it is any good against hypertension. According to studies from 1970, cannabis lowers blood pressure. Cannabis is composed of two main constituents:
A study in Journal of Clinical Investigation shows that Cannabinoids in cannabis are effective against hypertension since these are non-psychoactive. Scientists at England’s University of Nottingham conducted a study on nine adult males. The participants were given 600 mg of cannabinoids and they were then made to go under several stress tests. It was deduced that Cannabis lowered their blood pressures after just one dose.
How does Cannabis lower blood pressure?
Cannabis has many components that are vasodilators. They dilate the vessels i.e. release tension in the arteries. This allows more oxygen to flow to the organs, thus lowering high blood pressure.
“Very few therapeutic interventions are available to treat cerebral vasospasm, the unique mechanism of action of the cannabinoids may be useful (LOWERS BLOOD PRESSURE) in this regard.” According to Dr. Cecilia J. Hilliard
Short term effects of Cannabis
Short term effects of cannabis include elevated heart rate and blood pressure for a short period of time. With repeated use, patients develop a tolerance to these effects.
Long terms effects include lowered blood pressure and lowered heart rate which is essential for maintaining a healthy blood pressure levels. The authors of a study wrote, “We have shown for the first time that to our knowledge that, in humans, acute administration of CBD reduces resting blood pressure, with a lower stroke volume and a higher heart rate.”
Cannabis and Strokes
There have been very limited reported cases of people suffering from strokes as a result of cannabis consumption. Most of these are a result of combined intake of cannabis with alcohol or tobacco. According to a researcher,
“Despite the drug’s extreme popularity, reports of cannabis-related stroke and myocardial infarction are so rare as to still be reportable.”
Although a Harvard Study says that risk of heart attack increases by five times upon intake of cannabis for the first hour. This risk gets back to normal after two hours
How does Cannabinoid work?
Human body, naturally, has endocannabinoids which have neurotransmitters to control the emotions of the body. Since hypertension is directly related to emotions and immune system, endocannabinoids are the regulators of blood pressure. Cannabis acts as artificial endocannabinoid and reduces feeling of stress which consequently lowers the blood pressure.
“We conclude that endocannabinoids typically suppress cardiac contractility in hypertension (LOWERS BLOOD PRESSURE). Targeting the endocannabinoid system offers novel therapeutic strategies in the treatment of hypertension.” Dr. C. Cummings
Even though a lot of researches have shown the role of cannabis in treating hypertension, no medically approved cannabis-based medicine is yet available in the market. With further studies and advancements, we might be able to fully understand the role of cannabinoids in treating hypertension.