Patients with hypertension can use medical CBD to prevent heart attack and other cardiac issues. Click here to learn more about this revelation.
CBD is quickly gaining traction as one of the most beneficial medicinal compounds for safely treating an array of ailments. This list keeps growing for conditions that show marked improvement from medical CBD use. Heart disease is yet another condition that may be markedly improved by CBD therapy.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a remarkable extract of plants from the cannabis family. It has been found to effectively influence many body processes through multiple molecular mechanisms. Research shows that this influence has the power to improve everything from inflammation and pain to depression and anxiety.
With the rising prevalence of heart disease, new treatments that improve chances of survival and quality of life are constantly sought after. If you’ve been affected by this disease, you need to understand all treatment options.
To learn more about how CBD can prevent heart attacks and improve other cardiovascular issues, read on.
Perhaps you’ve heard this abbreviation recently. CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is one of more than eighty compounds known as cannabinoids found in marijuana and hemp plants. These plants are both in the cannabis family.
Medical CBD is usually derived from industrial hemp plants, where it is found in large amounts. CBD makes up more than 40 percent of industrial hemp’s total cannabinoid content.
Unlike other cannabinoids such as THC, CBD is non-psychoactive and has no mind-altering effect. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the psychoactive cannabinoid responsible for producing a “high.” This “high” is often the first thing that is associated with cannabinoids. However, it does not occur with cannabidiol.
Because medical CBD doesn’t behave the same way in the body and brain as THC, it can be used throughout the day without worry or impediment. Its lack of psychoactivity is also why it is a legal alternative treatment.
Cannabinoids are so effective because they interact with our body’s own endocannabinoid system to regulate many crucial processes.
The endocannabinoid system is an extensive, intricate biological network within the bodies of all vertebrates that coordinates and regulates important bodily functions. All of these functions are critical for maintaining an internal balance in spite of changes in the external environment. This constant effort to maintain this internal balance is known as homeostasis.
Our endocannabinoid system has three main integrated components. These are:
Our bodies produce endocannabinoids to control various processes, depending on the receptor site to which they are directed. These receptor sites are found throughout the body.
One well-known endocannabinoid is anandamide, which results in a “runner’s high,” or feelings of euphoria and well-being, after vigorous exercise. Anandamide binds to cannabinoid receptors, producing this effect.
The most well-known receptors for this system are known as CB1 and CB2 receptors. The nervous system, especially the brain, has abundant CB1 receptors. CB2 receptors are found in greater concentrations in the peripheral tissues and the immune system. CB2 receptors are also found in the heart and blood vessels.
Other cannabinoids like THC have a direct and powerful influence on these receptors. They are considered receptor agonists, which means they bind tightly to cannabinoid receptors to produce effects. CBD is a partial agonist, meaning it does not fully bind to cannabinoid receptor sites.
CBD seems to exert its effects on the endocannabinoid system indirectly, in addition to influencing the CB1 and CB2 receptors partially. CBD is also capable of influencing non-cannabinoid receptors and cell-to-cell communication molecules.
CBD can slow the breakdown of endocannabinoids, allowing them to exert their influence for longer periods of time.
It can also activate certain critical receptors in the brain and other vital organs so that they are more sensitive to chemical messengers known as neurotransmitters. The release of these chemicals is responsible for the transmission of signals from one nerve cell to another.
Many of CBD’s mechanisms work together to prevent heart attacks and other cardiovascular events. To understand how medical CBD works, it’s helpful to understand what can cause cardiovascular disease.
Inflammation may not be the first word that comes to mind for most people when they think of heart disease. There is evidence to support its role in cardiovascular disease.
Inflammation is meant to be the body’s defense mechanism. It’s the immune system’s attempt to isolate and remove cells that are damaged, pathogens, other foreign invaders, and irritants. Inflammation is the action of immune cells (white blood cells) and their communication chemicals (namely cytokines) meant for healing injury or damage.
In a healthy individual, inflammation works to heal damage and support healthy tissue regrowth. When inflammation becomes chronic, however, its healing activity becomes problematic. Chronic inflammation can be caused by:
Chronic inflammation can lead to more serious conditions, including atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis is a condition in which arteries are narrowed due to plaque build-up on the vessel walls. It begins when the smooth cells, known as epithelium, lining artery walls become damaged due to inflammation. This damage encourages a buildup of cholesterol on these epithelial lesions. In time, this buildup can narrow arteries, eventually causing blockages that prevent blood flow.
A heart attack takes place when these blockages occur in an artery that supplies oxygenated blood to the heart. The heart is a muscle that must work continuously to deliver blood throughout the body. Any loss of cardiac muscle blood flow and subsequent tissue damage can result in a heart attack, or myocardial infarction.
The damage doesn’t end there, however. If blood flow is restored to the cut-off tissue, a reperfusion injury can occur.
A reperfusion injury results from the massive inflammatory response that occurs when white blood cells in the returning blood release many inflammatory factors in response to the heart tissue damage caused by the previous lack of blood flow. This inflammatory response is problematic on many levels and can lead to even more inadequate blood flow and tissue damage.
Inflammation and reperfusion injury risks are both reduced by the use of CBD.
Cytokines are substances released by immune cells. These substances serve as a means of communication between these cells, initiating inflammatory responses.
After binding to CB2 receptors on immune cells, CBD activates an enzyme called caspase. Caspase induces the beginning of cell death, or apoptosis, in overactive immune cells. The death of these cells reduces the amount of cytokines produced.
CBD also causes overactive immune cells to increase their own production of reactive oxygen species, or ROS. ROS is a byproduct of metabolism that can cause damaging oxidative stress. Generally, it’s not a good thing to increase ROS in the body. In the case of medical CBD and overactive immune cells, however, increased ROS within these cells also triggers cell death.
Though CBD hastens cell death in overactive cells, it protects healthy cells. This reduction in inflammation and protection of healthy cells contributes to CBD’s ability to prevent cardiovascular issues.
Reperfusion injury, sometimes referred to as reoxygenation injury, is a common cause of extensive disease and death after a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack. This tissue damage is believed to be caused by free radicals present when the blood supply is returned to the cut-off (ischemic) area.
Immune cells, particularly neutrophils, use free radicals to attack pathogens. During ischemia, which refers to the period of time where there is no blood flow, neutrophils infiltrate the cut-off area.
When blood flow returns, neutrophils degranulate. When immune cells degranulate, they release chemicals and molecules called granules that are meant to destroy bacteria and other pathogens. This dump of free radicals from degranulation causes further injury to the area.
Neutrophils can also cause further blockage because they accumulate in large numbers that can block tiny capillaries that supply blood to other areas of the heart.
CBD protects against reperfusion injury by activating adenosine A1 receptors. Adenosine occurs naturally in the body and lessens the severity of ischemia by dilating coronary arteries.
These relaxed vessels allow blood to flow more freely, reducing infarct (area of dead tissue) size. Increased binding of adenosine from medical CBD treatment may also reduce dangerous arrhythmias that often occur after heart attacks.
The anti-inflammatory and vasodilating effects of medical CBD may be the key to safer, more effective heart disease treatment. Research and animal studies provide evidence for its protective actions, giving hope to those who live with the risks of this disease.
To find out more about how medical CBD can help prevent heart attacks and improve heart disease, check out our extensive CBD resources and other informative independent websites.