As cannabidiol (CBD) products rise in popularity, many people hope the plant-based compound can serve as an alternative to certain manufactured drugs, which come with tremendous side effects. After all, research suggests that CBD has many beneficial properties, including the ability to relieve aches and pains, reduce symptoms of anxiety, and even tamp down inflammation. Recent developments even suggest CBD may reduce high blood pressure. But if this effect proves true, how does CBD help reduce blood pressure? If you’re wondering how CBD could impact blood pressure levels, or if this claim is unproven, just keep reading for more important information.
What Is High Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is the force that is exerted on your arterial walls when blood is pumped throughout the body. It is one of your measurable, dynamic vital signs. The amount of pressure rises and falls throughout the day, based on how your body responds to physical, environmental, and emotional stimuli. It also depends on your arterial diameter and flexibility.
While small fluctuations are normal, high blood pressure (when the pressure level consistently stays above normal range) is problematic. This condition is also referred to as hypertension and it is a severe medical problem. Why? The danger with high blood pressure is that this chronic condition can lead to cardiovascular complications such as stroke, heart disease, heart attack, and even aneurysm. It also worsens with age; therefore, high blood pressure needs to be controlled. Additionally, when you have high blood pressure, your vessels may sustain damage by the constant onslaught. Keep in mind, high blood pressure can increase with massive salt intake, tobacco usage, insomnia, stress, anxiety, and type 2 diabetes. And these triggers may help us understand the connection between CBD and blood pressure.
What Is CBD?
CBD is a non-psychoactive compound that is found in the hemp plant. It does not produce “high” sensations in users, unlike its counterpart, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This means CBD is a safer, legal substance that has gained momentum in the health and wellness world due to its non-psychoactive qualities and its many potential benefits in your body, due to its interactions with internal systems.
The main system we’re talking about is your endocannabinoid system (ECS), responsible for regulating numerous body processes such as pain response, sleep, stress, and overall mood. Specifically, CBD interacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in your ECS, and it activates the TRPV1 receptors, which regulate your body’s temperature, inflammation, and pain.
How CBD May Effect Blood Pressure
CBD may lower the body’s high blood pressure by dilating your blood vessels, allowing blood to flow with greater ease, thereby lowering the pressure needed for circulation. But how does CBD dilate your vessels? There are a few different theories:
It Might Act as a Vasodilator
CBD appears to relax your arterial walls, allowing the process of vasodilation, which relieves arterial pressure and results in lower blood pressure. Vasoconstriction, on the other hand, occurs when arterial muscular walls contract, making your blood vessels narrow.
Now, arterial constriction is necessary to prevent bleeding and to limit your blood flow rate. During this process, blood flow is usually restricted, your body heat is retained, and vascular resistance increases. This, in turn, increases arterial pressure. For reference, a normal blood pressure is usually measured at 120/80 mm of Hg. Anything higher than this average constitutes hypertension and is likely a sign of persistent vasoconstriction. The malfunctioning of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone (RAAS) hormone can also cause hypertension. To reduce blood pressure, the process of vasodilation needs to occur. This is where CBD might come into play. Since it could act as a natural vasodilator, it might help relax your arterial walls, allowing blood to flow smoothly.
It May Help Reduce Symptoms of Anxiety
Anxiety is also a catalyst for high blood pressure, as it can increase your heart rate. CBD may reduce some symptoms of anxiety, which could then reduce blood pressure. How does anxiety contribute to blood pressure problems? When you are anxious or stressed, your body produces cortisol, the stress hormone that can affect your blood pressure. CBD might help regulate cortisol excretion in your body, therefore helping lower the blood pressure. This suggested effect due to CBD’s ability to act on your brain’s receptors for serotonin, the neurotransmitter that regulates your moods, therefore reducing your anxiety.
It May Act as a Hemodynamic Regulator
CBD may also act as a hemodynamic regulator, meaning it could maintain the steady flow of blood in your body. Hemodynamics relate your body’s blood pressure with the heart’s pumping actions. If the hemodynamic response is flawed, then the normal flow of blood will be disrupted, and the pressure on the arteries will increase. This is where CBD could play an important role. If it is an effective hemodynamic regulator, then it may help maintain the steady flow rate of blood in your heart, preventing blood pressure spikes in stressful conditions.
It May Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation can occur in many areas of your body, including the heart and blood vessels. CBD appears to have anti-inflammatory properties that may help lower your blood pressure. Inflammation can trigger high blood pressure, so anti-inflammatories may help keep pressure levels down.
A word here on inflammation: this is a response to foreign objects in your body designed to stimulate reactions to deal with the infection. Chronic inflammation affects cardiovascular health and even leads to atherosclerosis. This condition, also known as the hardening of the arteries, is a common trigger for heart attacks and strokes. CBD may interact with the ECS in such a way as to lower the inflammation rate in your body, by inhibiting the release of messenger substances that are used to trigger inflammation. It may also relieve your oxidative stress, which also leads to arterial inflammation.
It Has Possible Analgesic Properties
Acute pain can lead to an increase in high blood pressure. Since CBD might act on your body’s pain receptors, it could help to relieve pain sufficiently to decrease high blood pressure.
Is Using CBD Safe?
CBD is considered safe, meaning it doesn’t cause known, serious side effects, but you must speak to your doctor before using this compound to address any medical conditions. It does not have psychoactive properties, and many people don’t experience side effects from CBD use. Still, for people with chronic conditions, or for those who take certain medications, CBD use could cause adverse effects. The nature of your CBD experience depends largely on your age, genetic differences, and your general health. Some potential CBD side effects may include:
- Fatigue, especially when taken in large doses
- Loss of appetite
How to Use CBD for High Blood Pressure
You should never self medicate, especially when it comes to serious medical conditions like high blood pressure. So, before you embark on this journey, talk to your doctor about CBD use. Get an all-clear from your physician, and be sure to review all your current medications, as well as recommended product types and CBD doses. This is an important part of the conversations since you can take CBD in various forms, including capsules and edibles, tinctures, and vapes. Each has advantages and drawbacks, and it is crucial to know all the indications and interactions, deciding with your doctor which method is best for your situation.
CBD Capsules and Edibles
These are perfect delivery methods for beginners, as they are easy and convenient to take.
- The dose is consistent; there is no guesswork involved.
- The effects last for around 6-12 hours, so you may only need one dose during the day.
- The CBD has to pass through your digestive system; therefore, the effects are delayed as you wait for it to enter your bloodstream. As such, this may not be the best delivery method if you’re seeking immediate relief.
CBD Oil Tinctures
If you want quick results, then this is the method for you. Its benefits include:
- It can be administered orally, under your tongue.
- It is absorbed directly into your bloodstream.
- It takes around 30-60 minutes to see effects, and they last between four to six hours.
- Tinctures are convenient to store.
- It has a natural taste that isn’t for everyone. Some companies add artificial flavor to improve the taste, but it still may not be your favorite delivery method.
This is the fastest method to get CBD into your bloodstream.
- It enters the bloodstream directly through the lungs and bypasses the digestive system. The effects can be felt in a matter of minutes.
- The effects quickly dissipate, lasting for around 30 minutes to one hour.
- It is hard to note the dosage since you do not know how much CBD is in every draw.
- Vaping has been linked to serious, permanent lung injuries.
CBD Dosage for Hypertension
When it comes to CBD, it is crucial to note that every person is different. Your perfect dosage will depend on your weight, metabolism, size, and individual genetic makeup. Therefore, you should always follow the instructions on the product that you purchase. And it’s always best to start with the lowest recommended dose, to see how your body reacts to CBD. If your doctor approves CBD use with hypertension, you should take your blood pressure reading before and after your CBD dose to measure the effectiveness of your routine.
Please remember: CBD can’t replace the blood pressure benefits of exercise, a healthy diet, or any prescribed medications. It could, however, be a positive addition to your wellness routine, as long as you secure licensed medical approval. With the guidance of your doctor and CBD sourced from a reputable retailer, you will be sure to stay on a safe and healthy path.