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Can CBD Lower Blood Pressure?

It probably doesn't work the way you think it does.

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This story originally appeared on Emjay

Many people who use CBD attribute it to everything positive that has ever happened in their life. By the anecdotal testimonies, you might think that CBD makes you pretty and rich and turns your bodily fluids into pure gold.

People have a tendency to overhype things when they’re excited about their potential, and that happens a lot with CBD. 

Studies of CBD are still in their very early stages, but a substantial amount of research seems to support that people aren’t far off from the truth when reporting that CBD makes them feel happier or less anxious. CBD for medical purposes, like blood pressure control, is still in the very early stages of research.

Before you start using CBD to treat high blood pressure, or before you write CBD off out of fear that it will lower your blood pressure too much, you need to understand the context of the claims and how people came to these conclusions. CBD can affect your blood pressure, but it probably doesn’t work the way you think it does. 

RELATED: Cannabis Found to Lower Blood Pressure in Older Adults

The FDA’s consensus on CBD vs. public uses for CBD

The FDA has only approved CBD for the treatment of certain severe seizure disorders. They’ve not approved CBD to treat or cure anything else, including high blood pressure. This is important to keep in mind when you’re reviewing the opinions of people who have tried CBD and experienced certain results. 

It doesn’t mean they aren’t telling the truth. It just means that at the moment, most doctors will recognize and promote FDA-approved medications over CBD for managing your health conditions.

Even if your well-educated and savvy friend with the best of intentions recommends CBD to you, you should still talk to your doctor before you start using it. If you have a serious medical condition or mental health concern, proven treatment should be the first priority. 

CBD may be able to act as a natural aid when used in conjunction with a well-researched and approved treatment, but it should generally never act as a full alternative. 

The huge difference between CBD and THC

CBD and THC are both present in cannabis, although in varying amounts. Most weed contains substantially more THC than CBD, and weed that’s much higher in CBD is usually referred to as hemp. 

Since CBD and THC interact with the body differently, they won’t produce the same effects when used separately. THC has its own list of risks and potential benefits separate from CBD’s list. 

If you plan on using CBD, it’s better to use it in the form of hemp than it is in the form of traditional cannabis. You’ll experience more of what CBD has to offer while minimizing the risks and side effects that come with THC. 

RELATED: Does CBD Have Anti-Aging Benefits?

CBD and heart health

Some research shows that THC, particularly when smoked, can harm the cardiovascular system. Smoking anything has the potential to be damaging to your heart and lungs. 

CBD can be smoked, but most often comes in the form of tablets or sublingual tinctures that people use as wellness products. 

For the purpose of CBD’s effects on the heart, non-inhaled forms are most commonly studied. This means your hemp joint isn’t going to produce the same effects as CBD edibles or sublingually administered CBD.

A study on CBD in mice demonstrated that when used alone, CBD may have cardioprotective effects. The study showed the potential for CBD to mitigate negative cardiac effects related to diabetes. These same effects may also be beneficial to people living with other cardiovascular conditions. The keyword is “may.”

This isn’t something that has been meaningfully studied in humans, and people have a tendency to use CBD in a way much different from mice. Mice don’t self-administer and are often provided with much more significant concentrations of cannabinoids than people would use, and they’re tested in a highly controlled environment. We need more studies on people before we can draw definitive conclusions about what CBD can and cannot do to promote heart health. Think of the mouse study as a great first step in the right direction, but don’t take it as gospel just yet. We still have more work to do. 

We do know that cannabinoids are immunomodulators that can potentially reduce inflammation in humans. Reducing inflammation can improve blood flow, which may theoretically be beneficial for the heart. 

This doesn’t mean that CBD is a treatment for heart ailments, but that it may support the body’s ability to heal and respond to medically approved treatments. Keep that in perspective while you’re reviewing the evidence.

CBD’s impact on blood pressure

Carbon dioxide exposure can raise blood pressure. Smoking CBD would involve the inhalation of carbon monoxide, which would undoubtedly have a negative effect. Orally administered CBD is being studied for its ability to induce relaxation, and when the body is relaxed, the blood pressure may naturally lower.

This is only true if an agitated emotional state is what caused the heightened blood pressure. If you feel your blood pressure rise when you become angry, anxious, or upset, but otherwise have a healthy cardiovascular system and normal blood pressure, the best thing you can do is to calm yourself down.

At the moment, few credible studies directly demonstrate that CBD can lower resting blood pressure. “Few” is different from “none.” 

One study supports the theory that CBD can lower blood pressure that increases in response to an exterior source of stress. The participants in the study were healthy and did not have any blood pressure conditions. 

Removing yourself from a stressful situation and participating in a relaxing activity can help to ease the emotional tension you’re feeling, which will return your body to a calmer state. Some people feel that using CBD as a part of their soothing ritual is beneficial to them. If your doctor doesn’t see a problem with it, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t. 

RELATED: How CBD Could Be Used to Prevent Alzheimer's Disease

What not to do

Don’t use cannabis in conjunction with medications to lower your blood pressure.

Cannabinoids can potentially incite a negative interaction with many medications, including those used to manage high blood pressure. If you’re taking blood pressure medications or blood thinners, don’t add cannabinoids to the mix. It doesn’t matter if you smoke them, vape them, or ingest them. They’re entering your body just the same.

If you live with chronic high blood pressure, you need to be managing your condition under the close supervision of your doctor. This isn’t something you can treat at home like a normal headache, an upset tummy, or a skinned knee. You shouldn’t attempt to replace or customize your treatment plan without first speaking to your doctor.

Your doctor might be fine with your CBD use, but you won’t know until you have that conversation. Don’t try until you ask. In some circumstances, your doctor might find that you would benefit from cannabinoid edibles, even if they include THC. Get the full scope of information before you add anything new to your routine.

CBD for people with normal blood pressure

Orally ingested CBD doesn’t seem to do anything to negatively impact blood pressure in people who already have normal blood pressure. 

If you aren’t currently taking any prescription medications and you want to use CBD as a part of your normal wellness routine, you don’t have to worry about negative medication interactions.

Adverse events and side effects can occur with CBD use, but it’s usually a result of ingesting too much carrier oil. The CBD itself is usually well-tolerated among most people.

The takeaway

CBD can lower blood pressure in certain people, but cannot directly be used to treat blood pressure conditions. If your heart races when you’re stressed or anxious, there’s some evidence that CBD may be able to help you calm down. If you have health issues associated with your high blood pressure, this is a completely different story. Follow your doctor’s guidance.

Emjay has a whole host of CBD-infused wellness products for people who can safely enjoy the benefits of CBD. If you’re looking to mellow out a little bit, place an order and slip into something comfy. We’ll be over in about half an hour to deliver you your CBD.