Doctor using sphygmomanometer with stethoscope checking blood pressure to a patient in the hospital.

CBD for High Blood Pressure

Cannabidiol (CBD) has many potential health benefits. Although it’s most commonly used to relieve anxiety, pain, and sleep issues, some people also report taking CBD for high blood pressure

More importantly, recent studies in healthy adults found that CBD may lower resting blood pressure and counteract its increase during stressful situations. However, we don’t know if these effects will work in people with hypertension.

In this article, we’ll cover the research on CBD and blood pressure, its safety, the best way to use it, and more.

What is High Blood Pressure

Blood pressure refers to the pressure of blood pushing against your artery walls. It’s measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) with two readings 1 High Blood Pressure Symptoms and Causes. (2021) cdc.gov. Retrieved April 09, 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/about.htm :

  • Systolic blood pressure (the pressure when your heart beats)
  • Diastolic blood pressure (the pressure between beats)

Normal blood pressure is less than 120 systolic and 80 diastolic (written as 120/80mmHg).

When your blood pressure is consistently higher than this, you may be diagnosed with high blood pressure.

Also known as hypertension, high blood pressure increases your risk of other health problems, such as heart disease and stroke.

Possible Causes of High Blood Pressure

In most cases, high blood pressure develops slowly over time.

It may be linked to stress, unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as lack of exercise, smoking and having too much sodium in your diet, as well as certain conditions such as diabetes or obesity.

Hypertension is also more common in people of African descent, older individuals, and people that have a family history of high blood pressure.

Depending on the cause, hypertension is divided into two types 2 Iqbal, A. M., & Jamal, S. F. (2019). Essential hypertension. StatPearls [Internet]. :

  • Primary (essential) hypertension: high blood pressure without a clear cause
  • Secondary hypertension: high blood pressure caused by another condition, which tends to be more serious than primary hypertension and
Two older people being active

CBD for High Blood Pressure: How Might It Work?

Researchers are not fully sure how CBD affects blood pressure. However, they have some evidence-based theories.

One possibility is that CBD’s anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) properties might lower blood pressure indirectly by making you feel more calm and relaxed.

But perhaps the most promising explanation is that CBD could increase the levels of anandamide, one of the endocannabinoids made by our bodies 3 Leweke, F. M., Piomelli, D., Pahlisch, F., Muhl, D., Gerth, C. W., Hoyer, C., … & Koethe, D. (2012). Cannabidiol enhances anandamide signaling and alleviates psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia. Translational psychiatry, 2(3), e94-e94. . There’s some evidence that anandamide has hypotensive (blood pressure-lowering) effects 4 Varga, K., Lake, K., Martin, B. R., & Kunos, G. (1995). Novel antagonist implicates the CB1 cannabinoid receptor in the hypotensive action of anandamide. European journal of pharmacology, 278(3), 279-283. .

We also know that anandamide is a major component of the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which regulates the most vital processes in the body, including cardiovascular function 5 Pacher, P., Batkai, S., & Kunos, G. (2005). Blood pressure regulation by endocannabinoids and their receptors. Neuropharmacology, 48(8), 1130-1138. .

What Studies Exist to Support the Use of CBD for High Blood Pressure

There isn’t that much research on using CBD for blood pressure. Having said that, two recent, high-quality studies had promising findings.

In the first 2017 study, researchers gave nine healthy men a single dose of placebo or pure CBD (600 mg) capsules at rest and during stressful situations. Unlike placebo, CBD reduced resting systolic blood pressure by 6 mmHg 6 Jadoon, K. A., Tan, G. D., & O’Sullivan, S. E. (2017). A single dose of cannabidiol reduces blood pressure in healthy volunteers in a randomized crossover study. JCI insight, 2(12). .

Similarly, when the men performed stressful tasks that raise blood pressure — a math test, exercise, and exposure to cold temperatures — it was 5 to 6 mmHg lower after taking CBD.

The same group of researchers performed a similar study in 2020, giving 26 healthy men placebo or CBD (600 mg) capsules every day for a week. A single but not repeated dose of CBD reduced mean arterial pressure, another measure of blood pressure.

CBD also reduced the rise in blood pressure response to exercise, by 6 mmHg after a single dose and 5.7 mmHg after repeated doses 7 Sultan, S. R., O’Sullivan, S. E., & England, T. J. (2020). The effects of acute and sustained cannabidiol dosing for seven days on the haemodynamics in healthy men: A randomised controlled trial. British journal of clinical pharmacology, 86(6), 1125-1138. .

Additionally, a 2017 review paper that analyzed data from all available animal and human studies of CBD’s effects on blood flow concluded that CBD may hold potential in the treatment of hypertension and other cardiovascular issues 8 Sultan, S. R., Millar, S. A., England, T. J., & O’Sullivan, S. E. (2017). A systematic review and meta-analysis of the haemodynamic effects of cannabidiol. Frontiers in pharmacology, 8, 81. .

However, the researchers stressed that most of the evidence came from animal studies, so more human trials are needed.

How to Use CBD for High Blood Pressure?

If you’re planning to take CBD for high blood pressure, there are several tips to keep in mind.

For starters, you should only buy from reputable CBD brands that provide third-party lab tests that confirm the safety and potency of their products.

As for product type, we recommend going with CBD oil for high blood pressure because it’s easier to dose and has better absorption than gummies and capsules.

If you prefer rapid effects, you can also vape CBD, but be aware that vaping carries some separate health risks.

Another consideration is which type of CBD to use: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate. The studies we mentioned earlier used pure CBD isolate without any other active compounds.

However, there’s evidence that full-spectrum CBD, which contains the full range of beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes from hemp, may be more effective thanks to the so-called “entourage effect.” 9 Russo, E. B. (2019). The case for the entourage effect and conventional breeding of clinical cannabis: no “strain,” no gain. Frontiers in plant science, 9, 1969.

As such, full-spectrum CBD products may be the best option for lowering blood pressure.

For best results, you should take CBD once or twice daily (morning and evening), although you may also use it as needed.

CBD Dosage for High Blood Pressure

The right dosage of CBD for high blood pressure is different for everyone. It depends on numerous factors, including your genetics, body weight, the type of product you’re using, and how much you want to lower your blood pressure.

. You may begin with 10-15 mg of CBD and monitor your blood pressure over the next two hours.

If there’s no difference, you can gradually increase your dosage over time while continuing to measure your blood pressure. Do this until you find the dosage that gives you the desired blood pressure reduction.

Cautions About Taking CBD For High Blood Pressure

Research suggests that CBD is a safe, well-tolerated compound. Although it does have some possible side effects, they’re usually minor, and include 11 Huestis, M. A., Solimini, R., Pichini, S., Pacifici, R., Carlier, J., & Busardò, F. P. (2019). Cannabidiol adverse effects and toxicity. Current neuropharmacology, 17(10), 974-989. :

  • Tiredness and drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea and nausea
  • Low blood pressure and lightheadedness
  • Changes in appetite or weight

CBD can also potentially interact with many prescription drugs. That means it’s not a good idea to take CBD oil and blood pressure medication before talking to your doctor.

Still, these side effects were only found by studies using large oral doses of pure CBD, so they’re unlikely to happen for most CBD users.

Can CBD Help With High Blood Pressure?

Recent studies suggest that CBD may be a promising natural option for lowering your blood pressure.

Nonetheless, high-quality research on people with hypertension is needed because the evidence we have now comes from anecdotal reports and studies of healthy adults.

Researchers are not entirely sure how CBD affects your blood pressure. But there are some theories, such as reducing anxiety and influencing the endocannabinoid and other systems that regulate blood pressure.

If you plan on using CBD for high blood pressure, it’s best to opt for a full-spectrum CBD oil and use it daily.

Although CBD is a safe substance with few and minor side effects, we recommend talking to your doctor before using it, especially if you’re taking prescription medications.

The information provided is for informational purposes only. We do not claim to treat or cure any health ailment or condition. Please consult your doctor or healthcare provider before trying any new product. We are not responsible for any adverse reaction(s) you may have to any of the products featured on this site. See our T & C for more information.

Sources
  1. High Blood Pressure Symptoms and Causes. (2021) cdc.gov. Retrieved April 09, 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/about.htm
  2. Iqbal, A. M., & Jamal, S. F. (2019). Essential hypertension. StatPearls [Internet].
  3. Leweke, F. M., Piomelli, D., Pahlisch, F., Muhl, D., Gerth, C. W., Hoyer, C., ... & Koethe, D. (2012). Cannabidiol enhances anandamide signaling and alleviates psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia. Translational psychiatry, 2(3), e94-e94.
  4. Varga, K., Lake, K., Martin, B. R., & Kunos, G. (1995). Novel antagonist implicates the CB1 cannabinoid receptor in the hypotensive action of anandamide. European journal of pharmacology, 278(3), 279-283.
  5. Pacher, P., Batkai, S., & Kunos, G. (2005). Blood pressure regulation by endocannabinoids and their receptors. Neuropharmacology, 48(8), 1130-1138.
  6. Jadoon, K. A., Tan, G. D., & O’Sullivan, S. E. (2017). A single dose of cannabidiol reduces blood pressure in healthy volunteers in a randomized crossover study. JCI insight, 2(12).
  7. Sultan, S. R., O'Sullivan, S. E., & England, T. J. (2020). The effects of acute and sustained cannabidiol dosing for seven days on the haemodynamics in healthy men: A randomised controlled trial. British journal of clinical pharmacology, 86(6), 1125-1138.
  8. Sultan, S. R., Millar, S. A., England, T. J., & O'Sullivan, S. E. (2017). A systematic review and meta-analysis of the haemodynamic effects of cannabidiol. Frontiers in pharmacology, 8, 81.
  9. Russo, E. B. (2019). The case for the entourage effect and conventional breeding of clinical cannabis: no “strain,” no gain. Frontiers in plant science, 9, 1969.
  10. Lucas, C. J., Galettis, P., & Schneider, J. (2018). The pharmacokinetics and the pharmacodynamics of cannabinoids. British journal of clinical pharmacology, 84(11), 2477-2482.
  11. Huestis, M. A., Solimini, R., Pichini, S., Pacifici, R., Carlier, J., & Busardò, F. P. (2019). Cannabidiol adverse effects and toxicity. Current neuropharmacology, 17(10), 974-989.

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