We see more and more cases of stroke and heart attack in the families of our friends or our loved ones. Therefore, our attention was drawn to an article on the role of cannabis in regulating high blood pressure, which is known to be the beginning of the problems leading to the above-mentioned diseases. We present this article in its own translation, hoping that it may inspire someone to seek help for mother, grandfather or uncle in more alternative methods of treatment. Enjoy reading.
Cannabis and its effect on high blood pressure
Given the increasing prevalence of hypertension as countries liberalize cannabis laws, people want to know: what are the effects of cannabis on blood pressure? Do they lower blood pressure? The answers largely depend on who you ask or which research results you read.
One in three adults in the US has high blood pressure, a condition known as hypertension. Left unchecked, it can lead to cardiovascular disease, which is characterized by an increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and even heart failure. A number of factors, including poor diet, stress, inactivity, alcohol, and smoking, increase the risk of developing high blood pressure.
Some of the effects of cannabis on blood pressure, particularly the most severe, are well understood and documented. However, research studies describing other effects, especially long-term side effects as well as positive ones, are limited and often bear a bad design or the fact that results from animal studies are not always carefully transferable to humans.
In addition, many of the research findings are highly generalized, focusing on THC while neglecting research on many other cannabinoids. Logically, a cannabis strain with a high concentration of the psychoactive cannabinoid THC would give different results from a strain rich in highly non-toxic cannabinoid CBD.
Perhaps most frustratingly, however, is that published studies examining the differences between consumption methods – such as the effects of smoking cannabis versus consuming it in the form of food – are essentially non-existent.
With these limitations in mind, we present what we know.
Short-term vs. long-term effects of cannabis consumption
Does cannabis raise blood pressure? Research suggests that shortly after consumption, occasional users will experience a mild to moderate dose-dependent increase in blood pressure and heart rate, followed by a moderate antihypertensive effect (i.e. lowering blood pressure). The onset of the strongest effects, such as increased heart rate and blood pressure, occur within 10 to 15 minutes of ingestion.
Users can become tolerant to initial effects over a period of days to weeks, and repeated use is associated with a reduction in heart rate and blood pressure immediately after consumption. Anecdotally, many people report that cannabis helps them maintain normal blood pressure levels, which is backed up by research findings.
Here’s one interesting „non-trivial tidbit” that you can use to impress your friends at your next cannabis-inspired intellectual discussion: posture during consumption can affect blood pressure. Suppose you are sitting or lying on the couch – your blood pressure will increase temporarily immediately after taking it. When you get up, your blood pressure will drop. In fact, if you get up suddenly, your blood pressure may drop significantly enough to make you feel dizzy enough to make you feel like you’re about to pass out (don’t worry, it’s unlikely you’ll actually drift away).
On the other hand, if you are standing while you absorb cannabis, your blood pressure may drop even though it was not rising initially. However, there is not much published data verifying this effect. […]
Cannabis and stroke or heart attack
Regarding the risk of serious adverse events, the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study at the University of California, San Francisco (Coronary Artery Development Risk in Young Adults – CARDIA), analyzing data from 3,617 African American and Caucasian adults over 15 years, found that there was no long-term causal relationship between cannabis consumption and the risk of heart attack or stroke.
However, there are a limited number of animal studies and human case reports that suggest an association between acute poisoning and a heart attack or heart attack. However, these findings were questioned in a 2006 report published in the Forensic Science, Medicine and Pathology Journal: „Despite the extreme popularity of the drug, reports of cannabis-related strokes and myocardial infarctions are so rare and still reported.”
Moreover, human case reports often fail to take into account the fact that in these rare situations people may have consumed cannabis in conjunction with alcohol, tobacco or other drugs simultaneously or shortly before the incident.
Nevertheless, a Harvard Medical School study found that within an hour after consuming cannabis (especially in at-risk populations such as seniors), the likelihood of having a heart attack increases fivefold. Risk returns to normal within two hours. It is worth noting that sex carries a comparable increase in risk. The question is: Does the combination of cannabis and sex increase your chances of having a heart attack exponentially? We look forward to seeing more Harvard studies to answer this question.
Is there a link between high blood pressure and cannabis treatment?
It has long been established that the body’s endocannabinoid system (whose naturally occurring chemicals behave similar to the cannabinoids found in cannabis) plays an important role in regulating many of the body’s key physiological functions, including cardiovascular function.
A growing body of research shows that anandamide – a naturally occurring form of THC in the body – relaxes the blood vessels, suggesting that by allowing blood to flow more freely, anandamide helps lower blood pressure.
It is worth noting that the US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism published a report summarizing that „endocannabinoids tone the suppression of cardiac contractility in hypertension” and that „targeting the endocannabinoid system offers new therapeutic strategies for treating hypertension „.
The extent to which the endocannabinoid system plays a role in regulating blood pressure has long inspired scientists to investigate whether we could treat hypertension by manipulating the endocannabinoid system.
However, we are not there yet. Remarkably, despite the fact that cannabinoids have been studied for their potential as antihypertensive drugs since the 1970s, no cannabinoid-based drugs have been officially approved for the treatment of high blood pressure. Moreover, despite the ever-growing anecdotal evidence and numerous studies suggesting that regular cannabis use seems to produce long-term lower blood pressure levels, we lack rigorous human studies that would allow doctors to confidently say, „Use cannabis to treat your high blood pressure! „.
By developing our understanding of the role of cannabinoid receptors in regulating the cardiovascular system, we will soon be able to identify with greater certainty the therapeutic role of cannabinoids in controlling blood pressure.