When cannabis was first gaining major publicity for its medical benefits, one of the first public proponents was baseball Hall-of-Famer Kirby Puckett, who used it to treat his glaucoma. From there, it was only a matter of time before medical research proved that CBD reduces blood pressure.
In glaucoma, the pressure of fluid within the eyeball increases, putting pressure on the optic nerve. Eventually, the pressure becomes so great that the optic nerve is pinched off and the patient loses his or her sight.
Cannabis lowers the fluid pressure, relieving the optic nerve and restoring eyesight. So if cannabis can lower fluid in your eyeball, what about fluid pressure in the rest of your body? Could cannabis lower blood pressure?
Cannabinoids and Blood Pressure
Until recently, evidence has been (more or less) inconclusive, with findings going both ways. These studies, however, had been investigating cannabis flower with no control for strain, cannabinoid profile, or route of ingestion.
Different cannabinoids have different effects and attenuate the endocannabinoid system in different directions. It’s well known, for example, that THC and CBD have inverse effects to a degree.
Finally, one recent study, which specifically investigated whether CBD reduces blood pressure in human trials, put a rest to the controversy: “Our data show that a single dose of CBD reduces resting blood pressure and the blood pressure response to stress.”
Cannabis and Cardiovascular Disease
These findings build upon previous research that shows CBD is a vasodilator, which means it makes your arteries and blood vessels wider, allowing for greater blood flow with less pressure. There is a growing body of medical research showing that CBD’s neuroprotective effects are beneficial with cardiovascular diseases, especially in recovery from stroke and heart attack.
This study sheds light on one of the stickier areas within medical cannabis research: its effect on the cardiovascular system. Most investigations looking at long-term cannabis smokers find cardiovascular damage and attribute it to cannabis. Because this study utilized ingested CBD, they were able to separate the effects of smoking and the effects of the cannabinoid.
The negative effects, it turned out, were due more to the smoking than the cannabis itself.
How CBD Reduces Blood Pressure
Now, this is still a long way away from CBD being an effective treatment for cardiovascular diseases like hypertension. Serious conditions have many factors at play—lifestyle, diet, genetics, life circumstances, etc.—and taking some CBD oil isn’t necessarily going to make it all better. There are no magic pills to fix these things, despite what your friendly neighborhood pharmaceutical company would like you to believe.
While it may not be a cure for hypertension, cannabis does provide a natural, safe remedy for people to help manage their stress and blood pressure.
To minimize cardiovascular damage, you may want to consider an oral dose, through a CBD edible, tincture, or even pure CBD oil. However, if you’re set on smoking flower, reputable high CBD strains like Harlequin, Critical Mass, and Blue Shark may be helpful.
Or better yet, come in for a consultation with one of our budtenders to see what product or strain is just right for you.