Millions of people struggle with high blood pressure in today’s modern society. In fact, due to a recent change in guidelines, it’s estimated that nearly half of American adults will be diagnosed with this condition. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, occurs when the pressure of blood moving through your blood vessels becomes too high. If high blood pressure continues long enough without treatment, it can lead to serious health issues, such as heart attack and stroke. In short, high blood pressure isn’t something to mess around with. But, can an all-natural substance found in cannabis and hemp plants help lower your blood pressure? Here’s the scoop.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD is one of many compounds, known as cannabinoids, found in cannabis and hemp plants. CBD, short for cannabidiol, has become very popular in recent years due to countless users reporting positive benefits. Users report a feeling of relaxation and peace after taking CBD, along with improved sleep, reduced anxiety and depression, enhanced mood, and much more. Unlike its close relative, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main ingredient in marijuana, CBD is not psychoactive and won’t cause a “high” feeling. CBD works by interacting with your body’s endocannabinoid system. This is the system in your body that is responsible for maintaining a sense of balance and homeostasis in your body. Its main functions pertain to sleep, stress response, the immune system, and mood. CBD interacts with chemicals in your body that set off chain reactions to influence these functions.
CBD oil is just one of many CBD products on the market. It’s an oil that contains a high concentration of CBD. You typically take CBD oil by administering a few drops under your tongue via a dropper and holding the oil in place for 60 seconds. This allows the CBD to be absorbed sublingually, which allows for quick and long-lasting effects.
Can CBD Oil Lower Blood Pressure?
Interestingly, studies suggest that CBD may be helpful in lowering blood pressure. The tests are small scale and subclinical, which means their results should be taken with a grain of salt. However, the findings are promising and indicate a need for further research on this topic.
In a 2008 study, researchers put rodents under a stressful situation that caused their blood pressure and heart rate to increase. In this study, CBD lowered both the rodents’ blood pressure and their heart rate. Additionally, human volunteers were studied in a 2017 study. They were also subjected to stress and given a dose of CBD. Study participants had lower blood pressure after taking CBD, even when compared to volunteers who were given a placebo.
That being said, a 2017 review of 25 other studies indicated that there isn’t any evidence that CBD lowers blood pressure that isn’t caused by stressful conditions. This would indicate that CBD isn’t effective to combat regular, run of the mill hypertension. Instead, it seems that CBD may help balance out your body’s stress response, thereby lowering your blood pressure as a byproduct.
Hypertension and Stress
So why would lowering the effects of stress on your body lower your blood pressure? Well, if you’ve ever been startled by something and felt your heart race, you may already have a clue. Stress hormones automatically cause your heart rate and blood pressure to increase. In fact, these hormones cause your blood vessels to constrict in order to conserve your energy so you’re able to react quickly in stressful situations. However, this also causes your blood pressure to rise. Stress has a plethora of other negative side effects, including headaches, rapid breathing, high blood sugar, stomach aches, and more.
By interacting with the endocannabinoid system, CBD may target your body’s stress response directly. CBD stimulates the vanilloid receptor, one specific receptor in the endocannabinoid system that’s responsible for reducing pain, anxiety, and the effects of stress. Due to the interaction with this receptor, CBD users have reported feeling much less anxiety and stress. If CBD lowers the effects of stress on your body, it only stands to reason that it may also lower blood pressure and some of the other unpleasant effects of stress.
What to Know Before You Try CBD
If you have hypertension, it’s especially important to speak to your doctor before starting CBD. CBD can cause unintended interactions with any medication you may be taking. Additionally, if you’re already on medication to lower your blood pressure, CBD could actually cause your blood pressure to become too low. Low blood pressure has its own negative effects, so it’s important to get the all-clear from your doctor before trying CBD oil or any other CBD products.
In conclusion, CBD may show some promise in keeping those with regular blood pressure a little more stable, even in high stress situations.