Hypertension is a medical condition characterized by high blood pressure. Almost half of the American adults suffer from hypertension. That means their systolic blood pressure is more than 130 mmHg or their diastolic blood pressure is greater than 80 mmHg. There are several treatment options for hypertension. Could weed be one of them? Does weed lower blood pressure? Here’s what we know.
Can Smoking Weed Decrease Blood Pressure?
There is evidence that smoking weed can decrease blood pressure.
In a 2021 study, medical cannabis was given to 26 participants over 60 with hypertension. They used marijuana for three months. The study concluded that after three months, the participant’s blood pressure decreased. The study says, “amongst older adults with hypertension, cannabis treatment for 3 months was associated with a reduction in 24-hours systolic and diastolic blood pressure values.” In addition, the study says that after 3 hours, the lowest blood pressure values were recorded.
In addition, Recovery Village mentions that marijuana causes a sudden drop in blood pressure when someone stands up. That condition is known as orthostatic hypotension. Recovery Village points out that you can experience orthostatic hypotension while having hypertension.
So, should you pick up your bong if you have high blood pressure? Not so fast.
Can Smoking Weed Increase Blood Pressure?
While cannabis can cause a decrease in blood pressure, marijuana can also increase blood pressure.
Matthew Mintz, MD, an internal medicine physician, tells WebMD Connect to Care, “Cannabis can temporarily increase the blood pressure and heart rate.”
Since weed can cause an increase in blood pressure and heart rate, there is an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Your risk of heart attack rises within the hour of using weed.
However, Mintz says those adverse effects are “almost never seen with medicinal cannabis.”
Mintz explains that while THC may cause vascular inflammation and oxidative stress in the artery walls, cannabidiol (CBD) may counteract that. More on CBD in the next section.
In addition, Recovery Village points out that the increase in blood pressure and heart rate may be dose-dependent. They said experts believe “higher amounts [of cannabis could cause] a more severe impact than lower amounts.”
Marijuana can also cause an indirect increase in blood pressure. Recovery Village points out that an increase in appetite after using weed, called munchies, can cause you to eat a lot of salty food. Many stoners opt for chips and other salty foods when they’re high. However, you may eat more chips than usual with an increased appetite. Unfortunately, salty food is linked to hypertension.
So, overall, smoking marijuana may not be great for heart health, but there is definitely some room for more research.
Can CBD Help With Hypertension?
There is no consensus on whether or not CBD can lower blood pressure.
In one 2017 study, CBD seemed to decrease blood pressure. The study concluded that acute administration of CBD reduces resting blood pressure, and the blood pressure increases stress in humans, associated with an increased heart rate.
A 2017 review says that research suggests CBD “may be used as a treatment for various cardiovascular disorders, such as hypertension, myocardial infarction, and stroke.” However, they clarified that the studies they reviewed were primarily preclinical. In addition, the significant effects were only observed in animal studies. Therefore, it’s not an absolute fact that you can use CBD as someone who is hypertensive.
Very Well Health says, “there is no evidence that CBD oil can treat high blood pressure on its own or prevent it in people at risk.”
The general consensus on whether or not CBD lowers blood pressure is that more research is needed. Before you try to self-medicate with CBD, remember that it may interact with other medications. To stay on the safe side, speak with a medical professional before using CBD to treat your hypertension.
Other Ways to Lower Blood Pressure
If you have high blood pressure, it’s essential to reduce it. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2020, hypertension was the primary cause of or the contributing cause of 670,000 deaths in the United States.
Unfortunately, the CDC said only 24% of people with hypertension have their condition under control.
The great news is that even though hypertension is a serious condition, there are ways to lower your blood pressure. One effective method is using medication. Healthline also mentions:
- Reducing sugar and refined carbs
- Exercising more
- Eating a banana and other potassium-rich fruits
- Reducing your intake of processed foods
- Quitting cigarette smoking
- Avoiding secondhand smoking
- Cutting down on alcohol
- Getting more restful sleep
Does weed lower blood pressure? There is some evidence that weed can lower blood pressure, and there is also evidence that it can increase blood pressure. There is also evidence that pure CBD could lower blood pressure. Using weed and CBD for blood pressure management looks promising; however, more research is needed. Therefore, if you have hypertension, make sure you see a doctor and employ other methods to manage your blood pressure.
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