Cannabis and Blood Pressure

It’s been found that cannabis can impact not only heart rate, but blood pressure too.

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When we seek out alternative medications we’re often searching for the healthiest means to keep us well. Because some pharmaceuticals can potentially create negative side-effects, we must remain cautious when finding solutions to our health concerns, especially when it comes to our heart and circulatory system. It’s been found that cannabis can impact not only heart rate, but blood pressure too. Therefore, using the plant as an alternative or supplemental medication must be properly examined on an individual basis regarding preexisting health conditions.

We’ve come to observe that some cannabis strains tend to increase heart rate, and this is due to its ability to relax blood vessels throughout the body. As they relax the heart must pump quicker to compensate for the resulting decrease in blood pressure. In a healthy individual, blood pressure tends to remain the same with no significant changes despite an increase in heart rate.

If a person already has high blood pressure, this means that the heart is working harder to pump blood through vessels that are either constricted or have plaque build-up, making it harder for blood to travel freely through the body. This puts strain on both the heart and the vessels, and can lead to their narrowing, rupturing, leaking, or clotting.  

Because more studies are needed observing the effects of cannabis use on high blood pressure, we can only assume thus far that for some people, cannabis may be able help relax constricted vessels, ultimately lowering blood pressure, thus helping the heart pump blood through the body with less effort. Animals studies have confirmed that cannabinoids can help reduce hypertension, but human studies are still needed to confirm whether the same outcome is consistent in people.  

One study done with human participants looked at the cardiovascular effects of daily consumers that suddenly stopped using cannabis. In other words, the study looked at the cardiovascular withdrawal symptoms. The results were that blood pressure increased significantly, either indicating that the plant itself was keeping blood pressure low or that anxiety increased in participants which is one of the main possible causes of hypertension. Further investigation is needed to truly understand the withdrawal effects of cannabis.

If you have consulted with your physician and decide to see if cannabis may lower your blood pressure, it’s vital to investigate the many different strains, regarding both their cannabinoid and terpene contents. Indica and sativa strains create different effects on the mind and body, while terpenes tend to contribute to these effects as well. You’ll have to find the right strain for your lifestyle by trial-and-error, with the assistance of educated budtenders at your local dispensaries. 

Anyone with low blood pressure should keep in mind that cannabis could possibly lower their blood pressure to a dangerous level, so it may be best to stay away from the plant altogether. While cannabinoids seem to offer different effects, such as THC accelerating heart rate while CBD lowers it, the medical community still doesn’t fully understand how much of each creates a safe balance in patients with cardiovascular problems. 

For anyone wondering whether cannabis produces harmful effects on the heart and blood vessels in a healthy human cardiovascular system, the short answer is ‘no’, but that is based on what little information the medical community has so far uncovered. We haven’t yet investigated long-term effects of cannabis use on the heart and blood vessels – and we also need to look at the different ways of consuming it to see whether smoking cannabis can be more harmful to the cardiovascular system than ingesting it. 

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