Half of all adults in the US have heart disease and increased risk of stroke and heart attack. Learn about CBD’s effects on high blood pressure, the risks of traditional prescription drugs, and how taking CBD regularly might protect you from risks associated with high blood pressure.
Called the “silent killer”, high blood pressure is a leading factor in heart disease and stroke. Is CBD good for high blood pressure? In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about CBD’s effects on high blood pressure and more.
You’ll learn about the latest staggering figures on American heart health, CBD and hypertension research studies, and the long-term risks of using medicines like beta-blockers to control high blood pressure.
Keep reading to find out about CBD’s benefits on heart health, how taking CBD might alter the effect of blood pressure medications, and where to begin when you want to try CBD oil for an improved quality of life.
Half of All US-Adults Have Heart Disease, Latest JAMA Data
Every year since 1958 the American Heart Association journal has done a report on American’s Heart Health.
According to the latest report published in the journal Circulation, 48 percent of all US adults have some type of cardiovascular disease, based on data from 2016.
Shockingly, the study estimates that approximately 46 percent or 116.4 million of US adults have high blood pressure, according to data in 2017.
Having hypertension also increases your risks for other chronic diseases including Type II Diabetes and Obesity. Yet, hypertension is largely a preventable condition.
“Many are not aware that their blood pressure is elevated,” says Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, a professor of cardiovascular medicine and science at the University of California.
“This should serve as a wakeup call for more Americans to be tested for cardiovascular diseases – especially high blood pressure.” Fonarow says that high blood pressure is a ‘major modifiable risk factor’ for risks related to high blood pressure including –
- Heart attacks
- Heart failure
- Kidney failure
- Premature cardiovascular death.
For most cases, a healthy diet, lifestyle, and regular exercise can help to manage high blood pressure adequately. For other cases though, medication is needed to manage the risks of hypertension.
Before we get into the benefits of CBD in hypertension, let’s first cover traditional medicines used to treat hypertension.
Common Blood Pressure Medications
More and more people in the US are being put on high blood pressure medications. How effective are they really and what are the long-term risks and side effects of taking high blood pressure drugs?
The most common types of drugs for hypertension include –
- Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers (ARBs)
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors)
- Calcium Channel Blockers
Many people, especially seniors, complain about blood pressure medications making them feel more fatigued. They report feeling tired and with such low energy that it makes getting through the day difficult and uncomfortable.
Diuretics help control high blood pressure by lowering potassium, water, and sodium levels in the body, even though these are essential elements vital to health.
ARBs work by allowing the arteries to relax and wide, also known as vasodilation. Sudden changes in dosage or frequency, or other drugs and supplements can cause dangerous side effects with ARBs.
Calcium blockers reduce your heart rate and blood pressure by preventing calcium from entering the muscles and arteries in the heart. However, if combined with other blood pressure drugs or vitamin D there can be dangerous side effects.
Beta-blockers are one of the most common drugs given to lower heart rate and in turn blood pressure. However, drugs that lower heart rate and blood pressure can cause strange and dangerous side effects.
Side Effects and Risks of Beta-Blockers
Are the risks of common high blood pressure medications worth taking them to manage the risks of high blood pressure?
According to Medline Plus, the most common acute, short-term side effects of beta-blockers include,
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Erection problems
- Feeling nervous
- Feeling tired, weak, drowsy, or a lack of energy
- Nausea or vomiting
- Skin rash
- Weight loss or gain without trying
These are just acute, temporary side effects that might happen when you start taking blood pressure medications.
Pharmacists will typically tell you that the side effects may go away eventually, but many people often end up taking more drugs to counter the side effects from their high blood pressure medicine, especially fatigue.
Most people take hypertension drugs not for brief periods though, but everyday for years. What are the long-term risks and side effects of taking blood pressure medication?
Atenolol Ineffective At Reducing Risks in Cardiovascular Disease, Still Widely Prescribed
Beta-blockers, such as the iconic hypertension drug Atenolol, have been around for decades and are among the most commonly prescribed medications for high blood pressure.
Sir James Black, who went on to win a Nobel Prize for his work, discovered beta-blockers in the 1960s. The Nobel committee called his accomplishment “the greatest breakthrough when it comes to pharmaceuticals against heart illness since the discovery of digitalis 200 years ago.”
Atenolol, one of the first beta-blocker drugs, was approved by the FDA in 1981 for its ability to dramatically lower blood pressure.
The drug became the standard hypertension treatment, so much so that it was used as a reference drug for comparison with other blood pressure drug candidates.
However, 16 years later a Swedish clinical trial prompted serious questions about the efficacy of the drug when it was compared to a competitor’s drug that was designed to lower blood pressure for four years. The competitor’s drug showed fewer deaths and fewer strokes in patients compared to atenolol.
The study showed that although Atenolol could lower blood pressure, it didn’t reduce the risk of dying from heart disease or stroke.
The controversial results prompted a subsequent study comparing atenolol with a placebo that confirmed that the drug didn’t prevent heart attacks or extend life at all; it just lowered blood pressure.
Another 2004 analysis of clinical trials comprised of more than 24,000 patients validated the previous findings that the drug did not reduce heart attacks or deaths compared to using no treatment whatsoever for hypertension.
In 2006, Atenolol was identified as carrying a higher risk of provoking Type II Diabetes, leading the UK to redefine the drug as a ‘fourth-line’ agent in the management of hypertension.
Atenolol, for which the journal of the AMA reports more than 33.8 million prescriptions were given in 2012, doesn’t lower any risks caused by having high blood pressure such as heart attack and stroke.
Even when there is evidence of Atenolol increasing the risk of stroke in older patients, ProPublica’s Medicare prescription database shows it to be among the top 1% of Medicare drugs prescribed. More than 2.6 million Medicare beneficiaries over 65 were prescribed the drug in 2014.
Luckily, data from QuintilesIMS shows that Atenolol prescriptions are consistently declining. Considering there are better, safer, more effective options with fewer side effects, that’s a good thing. However, experts estimate that it would take 20 years for doctors to stop prescribing it for hypertension.
According to Wikipedia –
“Atenolol has been given as an example of how slow healthcare providers are to change their prescribing practice in the face of medical evidence that indicates that a drug is ineffective.“
Research into other types of blood pressure medications like calcium channel blockers and selective beta-blockers reveals an alarming link to breast cancer and increased risks of death in patients with chronic heart failure.
Now let’s look at how CBD could protect you from the risks associated with hypertension and heart disease, plus both its benefits and risks.
CBD’s Effects on High Blood Pressure
What are the effects of CBD on high blood pressure medication?
What about CBD’s effects on high blood pressure?
Is CBD safe to take for high blood pressure?
Is CBD a vasodilator?
What is CBD?
CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is an all-natural compound extracted from the resins of mature Hemp flowers. It’s both non-intoxicating and non-toxic, meaning you cannot overdose and you won’t get ‘high’, ‘stoned’, or intoxicated from taking CBD.
Research has proven that CBD has incredible benefits to the cardiovascular system, and yes, including proof that CBD lowers blood pressure. One clinical study showed that one dosage of CBD lowered high blood pressure in healthy adults, confirming its hypotensive properties.
Okay, so CBD can lower blood pressure, but can CBD actually protect you during, or in case of, a stroke or heart attack? That’s a question that researchers aimed to answer in another study on animal models of cardiovascular disease in mice.
Researchers studied CBD’s effects during an induced heart attack, stroke, and when regular blood flow returns to the heart and brain, which can cause serious damage to the organ. “In the heart, in vivo CBD treatment protects against ischemia-reperfusion damage and against cardiomyopathy associated with diabetes,” the researchers write.
CBD ‘reduced infarct size’, ‘increased blood flow’, and protected from brain or heart damage caused by a stroke or heart attack in the experiments on the animals. These studies indicate a clear protective character of CBD’s properties in risks associated with heart disease, likely due to its targeted interaction with what’s known as the endocannabinoid system.
You can learn more about the endocannabinoid system in our other articles linked below.
CBD, A Neuro-Cardio Protectant Vasodilator
Further research into CBD’s benefits on the cardiovascular system has yielded astonishing and hopeful results for people with high blood pressure.
Cannabidiol is considered a vasodilator, meaning that it helps your blood vessels and arteries expand, reducing the pressure on your heart. Experts think this is only one reason CBD can lower blood pressure.
Scientists also point to CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties as beneficial in heart health, especially during, and in recover of a heart attack.
In the brain, the studies we just mentioned indicate that CBD’s anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and neuro-protectant properties potentially protect the brain from the risks of damage in the event of a stroke. To briefly summarize, numerous scientific studies now prove that CBD has properties that –
- Lower blood pressure
- Expands the blood vessels and arteries
- Can protect the heart and brain during a stroke or heart attack
Of course, all medicines have both benefits and risks. What are the risks of taking CBD? Is CBD safe?
Taking hundreds of milligrams of CBD daily for several weeks has been safely tested in clinical trials with no serious or adverse side effects. The biggest risks of taking CBD could come from fraudulent or low-quality CBD products.
Make sure you read our 2019 CBD Scam Alert to know what to avoid and what to look for when shopping for CBD online and in person.
In the next section, we’ll go over how taking CBD alters the way that your body metabolizes pharmaceuticals, which could change the effect from your high blood pressure medication.
CBD and High Blood Pressure Medication
There are some risks that come from switching blood pressure medications or changing your dosage.
Is it safe to combine CBD and high blood pressure medication or switch to CBD for managing the risks of high blood pressure? Similar to grapefruit and some other supplements, CBD alters how the body metabolizes certain medications such as beta-blockers, Angiotensin II blockers, and NSAIDs.
Many people also wonder if omega-fatty acid rich hemp oil will interfere with blood pressure medications. Omega-fatty acid rich Hemp oil doesn’t contain active CBD or other cannabinoids so it won’t alter prescription drug metabolism.
However, CBD-rich hemp oil or hemp seed oil enhanced with CBD can alter the effect of hypertension medications due to the cannabinoid content.
Always first consult a medical health care professional about altering or reducing blood pressure medications before experimenting with CBD to manage risks associated with hypertension. Because CBD can alter your metabolism of some prescription drugs, it could change the pharmaceutical’s effects, causing unwanted side effects.
If your doctor assures it’s okay to alter your blood pressure regiment and you decide to try CBD, it’s generally recommended to begin in low dosages. Once you’ve observed CBD’s effects, you can choose to incrementally increase your dosage safely until the desired result is achieved.
Blood pressure medications are inexpensive, but are the side effects worth it when there is finally a safe alternative?
Learn More About CBD’s Health Benefits
Thanks for reading! You can learn more about CBD’s benefits on health in our other articles linked below. We’d love to hear from you! Let us know what you think about CBD and heart health in American in the comments section below.
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