Does CBD Oil Lower Blood Pressure? What the Research Says
With stress in the U.S. on the rise, it’s no wonder more than half of Americans suffer from high blood pressure.
CBD oil has been hailed as a cure-all for a variety of conditions, but what do researchers have to say about CBD oil and blood pressure?
Does CBD oil lower blood pressure, or is it an unfounded claim? Is it possible to skip the burdensome doctors’ visits and expensive trips to the pharmacy?
We wouldn’t go that far. Hypertension is a risk factor in heart attack, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Even though it’s common, it’s a serious issue which require medical attention.
However, there are many steps you can take to naturally reduce your blood pressure, one of which may be by using CBD oil for hypertension.
What is Hypertension?
Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure. As blood is pumped through your blood vessels, they undergo a degree of force. If you have high blood pressure, this force can damage the walls of your blood vessels, veins and arteries.
When you visit the doctor, you’ll usually hear your blood pressure described by two numbers, like 120/70.
The first number refers to the systolic pressure, the pressure exerted when the heart contracts and pumps blood into the arteries. The second is the diastolic pressure, measured when the heart muscle relaxes between beats. In cardiology, a systolic pressure of 140, and/or a diastolic pressure of 90, is considered the boundary between normal and high blood pressure.
High blood pressure can lead to cardiovascular complications such as heart disease, heart attack, stroke, aneurysm and heart failure. The condition is exacerbated by type 2 diabetes, stress, anxiety, inflammation, high cholesterol levels, insomnia, a diet high in salt, and alcohol and tobacco use.
Lowering High Blood Pressure: CBD and Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can be naturally lowered by reducing stress, salt intake, and consumption of alcohol and tobacco. You can also lower your blood pressure by exercising regularly and eating more fruits and vegetables.
Your doctor may prescribe medications that can lower blood pressure. Many of these medications, such as calcium channel blockers and ACE-inhibitors, cause side effects like headaches, dizziness, constipation and swollen ankles. That has naturally sparked interest in non-prescription treatments for high blood pressure.
New evidence links CBD to a decrease in blood pressure. For many people, CBD oil has fewer side effects than prescription medications, too.
We spoke with Rebecca Park, registered nurse and founder of RemediesForMe.com, who told us that CBD oil tinctures made using hemp have very few side effects and are generally well tolerated.
If you are already on high blood pressure medications, however, consult your physician before using CBD oil as there may be interactions.
What is CBD Oil?
Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is a non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid, which is a cannabinoid found in the two forms of cannabis, marijuana and hemp plants.
Commercially-available CBD oil is cannabidiol extracted from the hemp plant, often mixed with coconut or hemp oil. Unlike its marijuana-derived counterpart, this CBD oil does not contain high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), so cannabidiol does not get you high. Instead, most users report that it makes them feel relaxed and calm, among the other generally positive effects of CBD.
According to federal law, hemp-derived CBD oil is classified as having less than 0.3% THC, making it legal to purchase and use. And since hemp has minuscule amounts of THC content, CBD oil from this type of cannabis plant does not cause any of THC’s intoxicating side effects. Marijuana-derived CBD oil, whether it’s derived from sativa or indica-dominant plants, contains more than 0.3% THC as its primary active ingredient, and may make you high. It is only legal in states with recreational or medical marijuana legalization.
Though it comes in a wide variety of forms such as capsules, vape juice, powders, topical patches and lotions, and edibles like gummies, cannabidiol is most popularly consumed as a sublingual oil. You simply place a few drops of CBD oil under your tongue and let it sit for 30 to 90 seconds.
Pharmacology research has shown a wide range of potential benefits for cannabidiol. CBD oil is commonly used to treat or supplement treatment of medical conditions like chronic pain, inflammation, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy. Park added that CBD oil is also commonly used by people suffering from a wide range of mental disorders.
“CBD can be effective in treating generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder, anxiety related insomnia, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),” she said.
Additionally, emerging evidence shows that CBD may use the same mechanism to treat high blood pressure as it does to reduce anxiety.
How CBD Interacts with the Endocannabinoid System and Body
The endocannabinoid system is a biological system in your body that allows cannabinoids to send and receive messages that control most of the body’s important functions. In fact, your body naturally produces cannabinoids every day.
This system has two main endocannabinoid receptors, called CB1 and CB2. THC binds directly to the CB1 receptors, affecting areas of the brain that influence memory, motor coordination and time perception, and to the CB2 receptors which affect the pain centers in your brain and manage inflammation in the body. The interaction between THC and the endocannabinoid system is what causes the psychoactive side effects that marijuana is best known for.
On the other hand, cannabidiol does not directly bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptors. Instead, it causes a number of indirect actions leading to therapeutic benefits, such as activating TRPV1 receptors that regulate pain, body temperature, and inflammation.
Does CBD Oil Lower Blood Pressure?
While Park told us that high blood pressure can be caused by a number of factors, CBD oil appears to lower increases in blood pressure caused by stress and anxiety.
She explained that when emotional or physical stress is high, our bodies release a hormone called cortisol. High levels of cortisol can raise blood pressure.
“CBD lowers blood pressure by reducing cortisol levels and dilating blood vessels, allowing more blood flow and leading to lower blood pressure,” Park said.
Park pointed to a study of 11 participants that showed CBD oil may lower the levels of cortisol produced in the body. This study showed that volunteers saw a significant reduction in cortisol production when given 300 mg and 600 mg of CBD compared to the placebo control.
In a famous 2017 randomized crossover study led by British doctor Khalid Jadoon and published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation (JCI), a single dose of 600 mg of CBD oil or a placebo was administered to nine healthy volunteers. The resulting data showed that acute administration of CBD reduced resting blood pressure compared to placebo dosing.
The patients were then given a series of stress tests to increase heart rate. Those who were given 600 mg of CBD had lower stress-induced blood pressure spikes than the control group.
It’s amazing, but it’s true. A single dose of cannabidiol lowered the blood pressure of patients, whether they were resting or under stress.
The sample size of these studies was small and further research is required to establish whether CBD has a role in the treatment of cardiovascular disorders, but the results are promising.
How CBD Can Help With Hypertension
As Park explained, high blood pressure can be caused by many factors. Fortunately, there are several health benefits of CBD that could indirectly help with hypertension.
Anxiety can lead to rapid heart rate and palpitations, leaving you at risk for high blood pressure and heart disease.
CBD oil has been shown to reduce anxiety in animal studies by the National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA). This study demonstrated that symptoms that accompany anxiety, like high blood pressure and rapid heart rate, were improved by use of CBD.
Inflammation doesn’t only occur in your joints. In fact, research shows that CBD oil can reduce inflammation in the heart and blood vessels in the brain.
Called a “vasorelaxant” by researchers, CBD oil’s anti-inflammatory properties may lower blood pressure by allowing the free flow of blood through your heart, arteries and veins.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), acute pain can lead to high blood pressure. Because CBD acts on the pain receptors in the brain, the pain-relieving properties of CBD could lead to decreased blood pressure.
CBD Improves Sleep
As CBD reduces stress, you may see an increase in your quality of sleep and general wellness.
Sarah Polansky, owner and developer of the CBD brand Prismatic Plants, told Public Goods that “The more you take CBD and help to regulate your adrenals, the less likely you’ll feel fatigued as your body returns to a state of balance rather than constant stress.”
She added, “This means your need for caffeine consumption could decrease and your quality of sleep could improve, which has a waterfall benefit for increasing overall health.”
Choosing CBD Oil for High Blood Pressure
No prescription or documentation is needed for CBD oil. The only exceptions are the marijuana-derived CBD oil sold in dispensaries (in medical marijuana states, you’ll need a patient card to buy it) and a medication called Epidiolex, a CBD medication only available by prescription to patients suffering from some forms of childhood epilepsy.
All of the forms of CBD that you can buy over the counter are not generic products. Their effectiveness depends largely on the quality of the manufacturer producing it, and the type of CBD that’s used.
Many of the cannabidiol products you’ll see in CBD stores or online are of lower quality, since – as with any product – it’s more expensive to produce high-end merchandise and it sells for a higher price, often with lower profit margins for the vendors.
High-quality CBD oil, capsules, topicals, juice for vaping, or edibles will always produce a better result, so it’s best to do a little research to find reputable vendors who create effective products. Look for oil sourced from Colorado or West Coast organic hemp, extracted with high-end methods (like supercritical CO2 extraction), and containing only a small number of natural or organic ingredients required for flavoring or distributing the cannabidiol (the latter is done via MCT coconut carrier oil in high-quality CBD).
Some cannabidiol delivery methods work more slowly than others.
Capsules and edibles, for example, must make their way through the digestion process before the CBD can be released into the blood stream and carried throughout the body. Vaping or administration under the tongue make the cannabidiol available almost immediately, since it’s absorbed quickly by the sublingual glands or tissues in the lungs. And topical CBD usually doesn’t even make it into the bloodstream, since it’s blocked by the epidermis.
When shopping for CBD oil, you’ll find there are three different types to choose from.
- Full-spectrum CBD is the most effective. It contains all of hemp’s natural terpenes and flavonoids, as well as all of the cannabinoids in the plant – including the small amount of THC we’ve mentioned. They all work together in the so-called “entourage effect” that boosts CBD’s performance.
- Broad-spectrum CBD provides a slightly lower entourage effect, because the THC content has been removed from the cannabidiol before it’s processed and sold.
- CBD isolate goes a step further. All of the components of hemp except cannabidiol are removed, leaving only pure CBD in the final products.
Some people believe that pure cannabidiol does the most good, but in reality, there’s only one reason to avoid CBD that contains THC: it eliminates any chance of turning up dirty on a drug test for marijuana. In reality, very few full-spectrum CBD users ever test positive, but some people’s minds are set at ease by knowing there’s no THC in their body.
What’s The Best CBD Dosage for High Blood Pressure?
Because the FDA has not approved over-the-counter CBD products, there is no official recommendation for a dose of CBD. The right dose depends on your weight, genetics, sex and medical history. More studies need to be conducted with human subjects to get an accurate dosage.
Many CBD oils come in dropperful (1 ml) doses of 10 mg/ml. Cannabidiol affects different people, particularly based on the weight, metabolism and body type. However, Park said the effective therapeutic dose is usually in the range of 20 mg to 300 mg, or 2 to 30 dropperfuls.
In a 2018 study, researchers found that a dose of 300 mg was most effective for reducing anxiety in a simulated public speaking trial. Participants who took 150 mg or 600 mg did not receive the same benefit.
Meanwhile, in the previously-mentioned study of nine healthy volunteers, blood pressure was effectively lowered with a single dose of 600 mg.
The best way to determine how effective a dose of CBD will be for you is to start small and frequently check your blood pressure using an electronic cuff. Write down the dose you took and the time you took it, as well as your blood pressure reading. Over time, you should be able to obtain a clearer picture of what dose will help you achieve low blood pressure.
Park noted that, “If CBD works for you, without the use of other medications, I would say it is a great and safe alternative.” CBD may not be a replacement for exercise and a healthy diet, but it is nice to know you might be able to lower your blood pressure with a few drops of oil under the tongue.
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CBD oil seems to be a cure-all for many ailments, but does it lower high blood pressure? Here’s what research says about CBD and hypertension.
High Blood Pressure and CBD Oil: Managing Hypertension
Written by Jason Brett — Edited by Cathy Rozyczko on April 1, 2021 — Reviewed by Sarah Neidler, PHD
CBD oil is making waves in the medical world due to its wide range of potential health benefits, including its ability to help with high blood pressure.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is usually caused by a combination of lifestyle and genetic factors, and generally worsens with increasing age. If not managed properly, high blood pressure is usually caused by a combination of lifestyle and genetic factors, and generally worsens with increasing age.
Below, you’ll find information on how CBD oil can help reduce hypertension and the research that’s been done on the topic, as well as recommended CBD dosage and delivery methods for lowering blood pressure. Please note that hypertension is a serious disease. If you decide to use CBD oil in the management of your high blood pressure, you should always do so in conjunction with your regular doctor.
Effectiveness of Using CBD Oil to Lower Blood Pressure
Used in Eastern countries for centuries, the cannabis plant is well known for its disease-fighting properties and health benefits. It contains over 100 plant compounds known as phyto cannabinoids, which act upon our body’s endocannabinoid system . The phytocannabinoids we know the most about are THC and CBD , both of which have antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties.
There are a number of studies available that indicate CBD oil can lower blood pressure; this is why CBD oil carries the caution that it may not be suitable for pre- or post-operative patients. But, if you are suffering from hypertension, this could make CBD oil your saving grace.
One of the ways CBD oil reduces high blood pressure is by widening, or dilating, blood vessels. A 2017 study by the University of Nottingham found that just a single dose of CBD oil significantly lowered blood pressure in test subjects under stress and at rest.
Also in 2017, there was an i n-depth review of 25 previous studies that examined the use of CBD oil on hemodynamics (the dynamics of blood flow). The review concluded that while “Data from human studies investigating the effects of CBD on hemodynamics is still very limited … CBD may be used as a treatment for various cardiovascular disorders, such as hypertension, myocardial infarction, and stroke.” On the flip side, the study found that CBD mainly reduces BP and HR under stress conditions:
From the limited data available, we conclude that acute and chronic administration of CBD had no effect on BP or HR under control conditions, but reduces BP and HR in stressful conditions, and increases cerebral blood flow (CBF) in mouse models of stroke.
Finally, if your high blood pressure is due to high stress levels, CBD oil may be of good use to you. Cortisol, known as the “stress hormone,” is released by your body in times of stress. Between work, family, self-care, finances, and a mountain of other concerns, stress can become a constant in everyday life. This means your cortisol levels could be elevated, causing a physical stress response in your body that could be raising your blood pressure. In a 1993 study , CBD effectively lowered cortisol levels in test subjects, and lower cortisol levels lead to decreased blood pressure.
As more clinical trials and observational studies are conducted, CBD oil’s effectiveness in treating high blood pressure will become clearer.
Benefits of Using CBD Oil for Hypertension
High blood pressure can be brought on by a variety of factors, from diets high in salt and fat to stress to family genetics. High blood pressure damages artery walls, which can cause arteriosclerosis (where cholesterol plaques form). These plaques narrow the vessels and interfere with blood flow. When the plaques rupture, they can occlude the arteries completely, stopping blood flow and oxygen delivery to vital organs, which can be fatal.
While CBD oil has many well-documented benefits , there are other supplemental changes you can make to your lifestyle that may significantly reduce hypertension, like:
- Adopting a healthy diet focussing on vegetables, fruits, nuts, meat, and fish, while avoiding processed foods and sugar.
- Exercising regularly to strengthen your heart (this could be something as simple as taking a 30-minute walk each day).
- Finding ways to manage stress, which could include seeing a therapist, meditating, journaling, or making art.
If you have high blood pressure, you may be taking one of the following medications:
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) like Diovan which dilate blood vessels but can have side effects like:
- Flu-like symptoms.
- Back and joint pain.
- Skin rash.
- Selective Beta blockers such as metoprolol (brand names Lopressor, Toprol-XL), which slow your heart rate but can have side effects like:
- Depression and anxiety.
- Shortness of breath.
- Decreased libido and other sex-related issues.
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors like Benazepril and Vasotec, which keep blood vessels from narrowing but can cause side effects like:
- Dry cough.
- Skin rash.
While effective in treating the symptoms of hypertension, the possible side effects these medications carry can make lowering your blood pressure an unpleasant experience. Cannabidiol (CBD), on the other hand, has little to no known side effects, and is “generally well tolerated with a good safety profile,” according to the World Health Organization .
Cannabidiol is a cannabinoid derived from the cannabis plant, as is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). While CBD and THC share some similarities, there are also key differences between the two. One of the biggest misconceptions about CBD oil is that it will get you high, when in reality CBD has none of the intoxicating, mind-altering properties associated with THC and marijuana consumption. In short, taking CBD oil will not get you high , making it a practical and popular choice for individuals who want to manage their high blood pressure with a more natural treatment option.
However, because cannabidiol oil can react to certain medications (e.g. antidepressants and antibiotics), always talk to your doctor before testing out CBD oil as a potential treatment for hypertension.
How to Use CBD Oil for High Blood Pressure
Before you start experimenting with different CBD products and dosages, it’s imperative you speak to your doctor about using CBD oil for treating high blood pressure. If you’re still looking for more information on CBD as a medical supplement, you might also consider speaking with a cannabis doctor who specializes in the subject.
When you have the all-clear from your physician you’ll need to decide how you’d like to take CBD oil. There are many different ways to consume CBD oil and the delivery format you choose will depend on your personal preferences and your lifestyle. Here’s a look at some of the most popular formats, their benefits, and their drawbacks:
CBD Oil Capsules and Edibles
Capsules and edibles are an easy and convenient way to take CBD oil, especially for beginners.
- Benefits: The major benefit for this format is that the dose is consistent each and every time. There is no guesswork. And to this end, capsules and edibles are easy to work into your routine. Simply swallow a capsule or eat a gummy as directed, and you’re set! The effects can last a while, between 6-12 hours so you will likely not need to take another dose during the day.
- Drawbacks: Eating CBD oil can delay its effects. When you swallow a capsule or consume an edible, the CBD oil has to pass through your digestive system before it is absorbed into the bloodstream. Depending on how fast your metabolism is, and the amount of food already in your stomach, the effects of the CBD oil could take between 20 minutes and an hour to appear. This is not the best method if you are looking for fast and immediate relief.
CBD Oil Tinctures or Drops
Tinctures and drops are a valuable option for people seeking quick results and maximum dosage control.
- Benefits: Tinctures and drops are administered orally under the tongue. The CBD is absorbed directly into the bloodstream, allowing for results 30-60 minutes after use and the effects can last between 4 and 6 hours. CBD oil tinctures and drops are also convenient in that they store and travel well, and can be easily administered when needed.
- Drawbacks: One of the biggest drawbacks to CBD oil tinctures and drops is the taste. Not everyone likes the natural, earthy, at times bitter flavor of hemp. Some products are flavored to compensate for this but then you need to consider where the flavoring comes from. Is it artificial flavor? Are they adding sugar and chemicals you’d otherwise want to avoid? Choice here comes down to preference, but it is worth consideration.
CBD Oil Vapes
CBD oil vapes are one of the fastest ways to get CBD into your system.
- Benefits: When vaping CBD oil, it enters the bloodstream through the lungs, bypassing the digestive system. Effects can be felt in a matter of minutes. This is the best way to get a dose of CBD oil whenever you need it.
- Drawbacks: The primary drawback to vaping CBD oil is that its effects do not last particularly long. Typically you can expect it to last 30 minutes to an hour or two. The problem with hypertension is that unlike anxiety, you can’t feel that your BP is up and that you need another dose. You’d have to keep on taking your BP during the day, so vaping CBD could be a little impractical.
- Another potential issue with vaping is that it is hard to know exactly how much CBD is in each draw. CBD oil vape products come with a listed amount per inhale, but not everyone’s inhale will be the same so it requires a little bit of experimentation at first to get it right.
CBD Oil Dosage for Hypertension
Unfortunately, CBD oil does not come with a one size fits all dose. The amount you require will depend on your genetics, metabolism, size and weight. It is important to read the dosing instructions on any product you choose and start slowly.
If you need further guidance, we at CBD Oil Review have tested hundreds of products and come up with the following dosage recommendation:
The CBD Oil Review Serving Standard is 25 mg of CBD taken twice daily.*
If this does not produce the results you are after, increase your dose by 25mg every 3-4 weeks until you find the relief you are looking for. For more information on CBD oil dosing, read our guide here .
*FYI, our medical editors want you to know that the studies mentioned in this article were done with 300-600mg doses, which is considerably higher than our Standard. As we always say, when in doubt about taking CBD oil for anything, ask your physician!
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High blood pressure affects the lives of millions of Americans. CBD oil may be able to help reduce blood pressure and foster a healthier lifestyle.