The invisible risk of hypertension
Several factors causing hypertension (stress, lack of physical exercise, poor diet, and obesity) are positively influenced by CBD, at least in several preclinical and animal studies. Which could be a great resource for the estimated 1.13 billion people living with this disease. If we break down this number, the indiscriminate nature of hypertension becomes more apparent. In 2015, 1 in 4 men and 1 in 5 women had high blood pressure. And to make matters worse, there are a considerable number of risk factors.
The chances of developing hypertension are greater as you get older, if you have a family history of high blood pressure, if you are overweight, if you smoke, if you suffer from prolonged periods of stress, or if you suffer from other chronic disorders (kidney disease, diabetes, sleep apnea). sleep). In summary, there are a lot of factors that can increase the risk of high blood pressure.
The good news is that most of these risk factors are manageable, many with small lifestyle changes. But to understand why this disease is so common, and how CBD might influence it, we must first look at its mechanisms.
Basic concepts about hypertension and its treatment
In order for our heart to pump blood throughout the body, a certain degree of force is needed. Arteries are designed to deal with pressure fluctuations, but when this pressure increases, various problems occur.
Blood pressure is measured in two different ways: systolic and diastolic pressure. The first is the pressure experienced when the heart is pumping blood, while the second is the pressure between beats, when the heart is resting. When we take our blood pressure, the systolic is measured first and then the diastolic.
For example, ideal blood pressure would be in the range of 90/60 to 120/80mmHg (blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury). A person with hypertension will have a blood pressure of 140/90mmHg or higher.
As you can imagine, prolonged high blood pressure can cause serious damage to the heart. Over time, increased blood pressure causes the arteries to harden, reducing blood flow. In the worst case, high blood pressure can cause angina, heart attack, heart failure, irregular heartbeats, and ruptured arteries.
Although prevention is an excellent strategy to reduce cases of hypertension, there will be circumstances in which its management will be the only option. In these cases, it is recommended to reduce mental stress, check blood pressure regularly, and receive treatment. It is in the latter case (the treatment of blood pressure) that CBD could play a key role.
What effect can CBD have on hypertension?
While it is possible to reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure through risk factor management, there is growing interest in the effects of CBD, not just for hypertension, but for cardiovascular health in general.
In 2017, the magazine Journal of Clinical Investigation published a study on the effects of CBD on blood pressure. Nine healthy male volunteers were given either a 600mg dose of CBD or a placebo. During the double-blind, placebo-controlled study, a number of “cardiovascular parameters” were monitored.
Two of these parameters were the systolic blood pressure that we mentioned before, and the heart rate. The researchers concluded that “acute administration of CBD reduces PS at rest and increased PS under stress in humans.” It should be noted that the sample size used was very small, especially compared to the ~1.13 billion people living with hypertension. Therefore, although it is encouraging, much more research is necessary, a caveat that is included in the study itself.
Treatment of hypertension in the future
It may be too early to say whether CBD has the potential to be used in the treatment of high blood pressure, but luckily that hasn’t stopped researchers. In addition to the above study, cannabinoids have drawn the attention of the academic journal British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. The results seem to indicate that CBD exerts a positive influence on hypertension. Even so, as we have already pointed out, many of the studies have been carried out with small sample sizes, in vitro, or with animals.
When it comes to the prevention and treatment of hypertension, consult your doctor before opting for an action plan.