Can CBD Help in Heart Disease?

Lately, it seems that CBD is everywhere for its many health benefits. Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the primary cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. CBD has garnered a lot of attention these days and is definitely established as the wellness product of this decade. Unlike the more popular THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD is a non-psychoactive (meaning it does not get you ‘high). CBD is known to have many benefits for the body as it works to maintain a state of homeostasis (or even state) inside the body. CBD is also known to give a boost to the body’s endocannabinoid system to treat inflammation or many health conditions. There has been a lot of buzz recently that CBD can even help in heart disease. Let us take a look at what research has to say about this and whether or not CBD can really help in heart disease.

What is CBD & How Does It Work?

What is CBD & How Does It Work?

In order to understand whether or not CBD can help in heart disease and the other health benefits of CBD, it is first essential to understand what it is.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a chemical compound derived from the cannabis plant. It is a naturally occurring compound that is used in many products such as oils and edibles to give a feeling of calm and relaxation. Unlike the most common cannabis compound THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD is not a psychoactive substance, meaning that CBD will not make you high.

The cannabis plant is composed of two main compounds – CBD and THC. CBD is the non-psychoactive part of the cannabis plant, and it does not impart any effects, such as euphoria. You will not feel sedated or any change after having CBD.

Since CBD does not get you high, it has become an appealing option for people who are looking to get relief from pain and other symptoms.

CBD is known to impact the body’s endocannabinoid system.(1) The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex cell-signaling system in the body that was identified in the early 1990s by researchers who were researching THC. While efforts are still on to fully understand the ECS, it is known to play an important role in regulating a variety of functions and processes including:(2)

  • Mood
  • Sleep
  • Memory
  • Appetite
  • Reproduction

When the body’s natural balance gets disruption due to an illness or inflammation, CBD might give the much-needed boost to the ECS to regulate the functions and processes of the body.(3)

CBD today can be found in a wide range of products, including oils, gummies, lotions, and salves. It is being touted as a substance that can benefit many health conditions such as chronic pain, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, and even heart disease.

While there is some research along with anecdotal evidence to show that CBD does have health benefits, the fact is that the available research on CBD is still in its infancy, and we still do not know a lot about how CBD impacts our body.

Furthermore, the bigger problem is that there is to date only one approved CBD product – the drug Epidiolex for the treatment of epilepsy.(4) The US Good and Drug Administration (FDA) strictly regulates such products, through over-the-counter (OTC) CBD products are not regulated, and therefore also not reliable as there can be severe side effects or interactions with other medications.(5)

Can CBD Help in Heart Disease?

The anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties of CBD are believed to lower some of the risk factors that can cause heart disease, including high blood pressure or hypertension. CBD is also thought to decrease the risk of other heart-related conditions like stroke.

Let us take a look at what the research says about CBD and heart disease:

CBD and High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure or hypertension is known as one of the leading risk factors for hypertensive heart disease. When you are under stress, it can increase the body’s blood pressure. Some research studies show that a dose of CBD can lower this spike in blood pressure when the body is under stress.

In 2017, a study on healthy human participants found that those who were subjected to stress and then given a dose of CBD had lower blood pressure as compared to the participants who were given a placebo.(6)

In 2009, in a study on rats,(7) carried out by the University of Nottingham in the UK, found that rats that were subjected to a stressful situation that leads to an increase in their heart rate and blood pressure, experienced a reduction in their blood pressure when given a dose of CBD.

So while there is a need for more focused research, it can still be said that CBD might be useful in reducing blood pressure and heart rate when under stress.

However, in a 2017 review of around 25 studies, it was found that there is no evidence that CBD helps lower blood pressure and heart under non-stressful conditions.(8)

This is why you should always consult your doctor before you use CBD for lowering high blood pressure.

CBD and Stroke

Heart disease increased the risk of having a stroke. An ischemic stroke can happen when there is a blood clot that obstructs the blood flow to the brain. On the other hand, a blood vessel in the brain may also burst, causing a hemorrhagic stroke.

In 2010, a review of some studies discovered that CBD could help protect stroke patients from further brain damage and also help in faster recovery by boosting brain function.(9)

Another review carried out in 2017(10) found that CBD increases the cerebral blood flow during a stroke. However, the important point here is that both these reviews were focused on animal studies. More research on humans is needed to verify and prove these findings.

How to Use CBD for Heart Health?

CBD is today available in many forms, such as oils, tinctures, edibles, and even skin creams. The easy way to ingest CBD is to take it sublingually or by putting it under your tongue. Sublingual products of CBD are considered to be safer to use than some of the other forms of CBD ingestion, including vaping. Sublingual products also produce stronger and faster results as compared to edible or topical products.

Singe OTC CBD products are not regulated by the FDA, it is very important to do thorough research before you purchase or take any kind of OTC CBD products. You should also consult with your doctor before you try out CBD products.

Always purchase any CBD products from a reputable source that is known to sell organic and non-GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) CBD. You can discuss with your local pharmacist to check if they have any product recommendations. If they don’t, then you can search for a product that has been tested independently by a third party. This information is readily available on the product’s website or even on the packaging.

Third-party testing ensures that the product that you are having is accurately labeled. A study in 2017 found that only 31 percent of products are actually correctly labeled with regards to their CBD concentration.(10)

Whichever CBD product you choose, you should always start with a small dose at first. Then, increase your dose slowly if needed. When you are taking CBD for the first time or when you are switching to another CBD product, then always make it a point to try a very small dose. Increase the dose slowly by no more than 5 to 10 milligrams at a time. Discontinue the product if you experience any type of adverse reaction.

Are There Any Side Effects of CBD?

Research has shown that CBD may have some side effects.(11)

According to the World Health Organization (WHO),(12) CBD has a good safety profile, and it is not addictive, and it is also not possible to overdose on CBD. However, there are still certain side affects you need to be aware of while using CBD, including:

CBD can also interact with other medications because of the fact that CBD has the potential to interfere with some liver enzymes. This interference can prevent the liver from metabolizing other drugs or substances, increasing the concentration of these substances in your body. This is why it is so important to discuss taking CBD with your doctor, especially if you are on regular medications or supplements.

At the same time, CBD can also increase the risk of liver toxicity. A recent study has increased concerns about CBD’s potential for causing liver damage. (13). Researchers suggest that CBD has a similar effect on the liver as alcohol, certain medications, and some dietary supplements, as well.

Conclusion

If you are considering trying CBD for your heart health or blood pressure, then it is absolutely essential that you discuss it with your doctor first. You should ask your doctor about the right dosage keeping your symptoms and medical condition in mind. Also, make sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking, including any supplements and OTC aids. Even though research into heart disease and the impact of CBD is showing promise, further research is still required for scientists to better understand the exact benefits of CBD for various conditions. Remember that ultimately, CBD is not a cure for heart disease, and neither can it be considered an alternative to traditional treatment for heart problems.

References:

  1. Pacher, P., Bátkai, S. and Kunos, G., 2006. The endocannabinoid system as an emerging target of pharmacotherapy. Pharmacological reviews, 58(3), pp.389-462.
  2. Di Marzo, V., Bifulco, M. and De Petrocellis, L., 2004. The endocannabinoid system and its therapeutic exploitation. Nature reviews Drug discovery, 3(9), p.771.
  3. Di Marzo, V. and Piscitelli, F., 2015. The endocannabinoid system and its modulation by phytocannabinoids. Neurotherapeutics, 12(4), pp.692-698.
  4. Elliott, W. and Chan, J., 2018. Cannabidiol Oral Solution (Epidiolex). Internal Medicine Alert, 40(16).
  5. Alsherbiny, M.A. and Li, C.G., 2019. Medicinal cannabis—potential drug interactions. Medicines, 6(1), p.3.
  6. Jadoon, K.A., Tan, G.D. and 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. Resstel, L.B., Tavares, R.F., Lisboa, S.F., Joca, S.R., Corrêa, F.M. and Guimarães, F.S., 2009. 5‐HT1A receptors are involved in the cannabidiol‐induced attenuation of behavioural and cardiovascular responses to acute restraint stress in rats. British journal of pharmacology, 156(1), pp.181-188.
  8. Sultan, S.R., Millar, S.A., England, T.J. and O’Sullivan, S.E., 2017. A systematic review and meta-analysis of the haemodynamic effects of Cannabidiol. Frontiers in pharmacology, 8, p.81.
  9. Hayakawa, K., Mishima, K. and Fujiwara, M., 2010. Therapeutic potential of non-psychotropic cannabidiol in ischemic stroke. Pharmaceuticals, 3(7), pp.2197-2212.
  10. Sultan, S.R., Millar, S.A., England, T.J. and O’Sullivan, S.E., 2017. A systematic review and meta-analysis of the haemodynamic effects of Cannabidiol. Frontiers in pharmacology, 8, p.81.
  11. Bonn-Miller, M.O., Loflin, M.J., Thomas, B.F., Marcu, J.P., Hyke, T. and Vandrey, R., 2017. Labeling accuracy of cannabidiol extracts sold online. Jama, 318(17), pp.1708-1709.
  12. Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. (2019). An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies | Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. [online] Available at: https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2016.0034 [Accessed 12 Nov. 2019].
  13. Who.int. (2019). [online] Available at: https://www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/CannabidiolCriticalReview.pdf [Accessed 12 Nov. 2019].
  14. Ewing, L.E., Skinner, C.M., Quick, C.M., Kennon-McGill, S., McGill, M.R., Walker, L.A., ElSohly, M.A., Gurley, B.J. and Koturbash, I., 2019. Hepatotoxicity of a Cannabidiol-Rich Cannabis Extract in the Mouse Model. Molecules, 24(9), p.1694.

Was this article helpful?

Yes No
×

Suggestions to Improve the Article

This article contains incorrect information.

This article does not have the information I am looking for.


I Have a Medical Question.

Ask A Doctor Now

If you are facing a medical emergency, call your local emergency services immediately, or visit the nearest ER or urgent care facility
×

Suggestions to Improve the Article

×

How Did This Article Help?

This Article Did Change My Life!


I Have a Medical Question.

Ask A Doctor Now

If you are facing a medical emergency, call your local emergency services immediately, or visit the nearest ER or urgent care facility
×

Thank you for your feedback.