Chances are you know someone who has high blood pressure. It’s likely you will hear the term a lot without actually knowing the causes or consequences. It is estimated that around 1 in 4 adults in the UK live with high blood pressure, meaning it is a pretty serious and widespread condition, but until it affects you directly, it’s unlikely you’ll know why lowering your blood pressure is important.
What is blood pressure and why is it important?
When our heart beats, it pumps blood around the body providing it with energy and oxygen. As blood travels around the body, it pushes against the sides of the blood vessels that transport it. The strength of this pushing is your blood pressure and if the pressure is too high, it puts additional strain on your arteries and your heart which can lead to strokes, heart attacks, kidney failure and other health problems. Terrifyingly, as many as 5 million adults in the UK have undiagnosed high blood pressure but don’t even know that they are at risk. High blood pressure can be hard to detect, often nicknamed “the silent killer”, which is why it’s so important to get checked.
Having high blood pressure, a condition known as hypertension, can be caused by a number of factors, but is mostly developed because of diet, lifestyle or a medical condition. Drinking too much alcohol, smoking, high levels of salt consumption and lack of exercise all can increase the risk of getting high blood pressure. There is also a relationship between socio-economic status and hypertension: high blood pressure is more common in those of black African or black Caribbean descent and within people who live in deprived areas.
How can CBD help lower blood pressure?
There are some easy ways to lower your blood pressure yourself. You can simply make your lifestyle more active and reduce intake of the food and drinks that can bring it on: eat more fruit and veg, lower the booze intake and take up regular exercise. Additionally, there are various blocker medications that are prescribed for hypertension but patients usually need to take more than one type of medicine. For those who are interested in a more natural and convenient medicine to both help with high blood pressure or to help prevent it, CBD could be the right answer for you.
Our bodies are regulated by an endocannabinoid system, whose naturally occurring chemicals behave similarly to cannabinoids found in cannabis. It’s long been accepted that the body’s endocannabinoid system plays an important role in regulating many of the body’s key physiological functions, one of which is cardiovascular function. CBD can bind to cannabinoid receptors and assist with modulating physiological functions in the same way as endocannabinoids, which is why so many medical organisations and researchers are dedicated to exploring the copious bodily functions that cannabinoids could aid.
CBD is making huge waves in the medical world. Hundreds of studies are being carried out by researchers and scientists around the world to try and establish the different beneficial properties of CBD on chronic diseases and their related complications. Part of the overwhelming amount of recent research published on CBD as a medication, suggests that this miracle compound could lessen the spikes in blood pressure.
There are multiple studies that have taken place in the last few years that have shown CBD to reduce blood pressure and heart rate under stress and potentially help protect stroke patients from brain damage. Preclinical studies demonstrate that CBD has numerous cardiovascular benefits.
A 2017 study appears to be the most telling. The experiment aim was to measure the effect cannabidiol (CBD) had on reducing blood pressure in healthy volunteers. Twelve healthy male volunteers were given 600 mg of CBD or placebo in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover study and their cardiovascular parameters measured after the dose. The results found that resting blood pressure was lower after subjects had taken CBD and that CBD blunted the blood pressure response to stress. The test exhibited, for the first time in humans, that acute administration of CBD reduces resting blood pressure, with a lower stroke volume and a higher heart rate.
These results are auspicious but don’t verify if CBD will lower blood pressure in the long run for those who actually suffer from continuous high blood pressure. The authors concluded that “further research is also required to establish whether CBD has any role in the treatment of cardiovascular disorders such as hypertension.”
Aside from specific studies that test CBDs effect on blood pressure, there is undeniable evidence that CBD can help with stress, anxiety and insomnia – factors attributed to having high blood pressure. Additionally, CBD has exhibited anti-inflammatory properties. Since inflammation can trigger high blood pressure and vice versa, a natural solution to inflammation is inclined to help.
CBD is rapidly becoming a modern-day cure-all and we now know that specific doses can reduce resting blood pressure. Whilst further human trials on those who suffer from hypertension is essential before being prescribed as a cure, taking CBD as a supplement might well improve the flow of blood through the body and calm any anxieties that might result in blood pressure increasing.
Hypertension contributes to hundreds of thousands of deaths annually. It’s a high-risk, long-term condition that afflicts millions of people across the globe and the numbers affected continues to rise. Any new evidence for antidotes, especially natural remedies, that may aid in relief for some symptoms associated with high blood pressure and even high blood pressure itself, will be music to the ears of many. We hope, and it seems very plausible, that CBD will soon be proven to lower blood pressure long term.
Before taking CBD to lower your blood pressure, it’s important to check with your doctor that it won’t interfere with any other prescription medications if you happen to be taking them.