A Guide to Using CBD for Your Hypertension | cannabisMD

A Guide to Using CBD for Your Hypertension

A Guide to Using CBD for Your Hypertension

Stress has become a popular accessory in the lives of many people. Most Americans, especially adults, have plenty of pressure to work hard, study hard, and even play hard. Whatever the activity, there is always pressure to push through the pain. The United States Marine Corps’ popular slogan of “Pain is weakness leaving the body” is plastered on t-shirts everywhere. The idea is that pushing through stress and discomfort shows strength. While it’s true that sometimes you must push through painful situations in for life to get easier, this concept doesn’t really work when considering heart health.

Stressing through overtime at work, or not getting enough rest can reek havoc on your body and heart. This type of neglect can raise your blood pressure and affect your overall health. The risk of hypertension is simply not worth the push to out-work your co-worker or pull yet another all-nighter studying for a big test. Sometimes pain isn’t weakness leaving the body; it’s just pain. And that pain can potentially weaken your heart. Hypertension is no joke, and many people need to take precautions to prevent it. Though some medications and treatments can help, CBD could also be helpful in keeping your heart healthy and relieving your stress.

What Is Hypertension?

Hypertension and high blood pressure are two terms that people often use synonymously. Many believe that they are in fact the same thing, and to be honest, that’s true. However, while high blood pressure is typically referred to as a side effect or symptom that is connected to another ailment, hypertension is perpetually high blood pressure. One concerning feature of hypertension is that you may have it for years without realizing it. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t any damage to your heart, though. Even without symptoms, your high blood pressure can still be harming your blood vessels and heart. Most people seem to have no obvious symptoms of high blood pressure, however, in some cases, there may be a few symptoms of which your doctor may need to be aware. These symptoms often occur when blood pressure has reached dangerous heights and needs to be addressed immediately.

Symptoms of Hypertension may include:

  • Headaches
  • Nosebleeds
  • Shortness of breath

However, these symptoms typically won’t let you know ahead of time if your blood pressure is getting high, they simply will make you aware that your blood pressure has reached a life-threatening level.

There are two different types of high blood pressure:

Primary Hypertension: This is a type of hypertension that is hard to pinpoint as the cause is typically unknown. It simply progresses over time.

Secondary Hypertension: This type of high blood pressure is connected to other conditions. It comes on abruptly and can cause your blood pressure to spike higher than primary hypertension. Some conditions that are linked to hypertension are:

  • Sleep apnea
  • Thyroid problems
  • Kidney problems
  • Adrenal gland tumors
  • Congenital issues
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Illegal drugs and certain medications such as birth control and pain relievers.

Having your doctor check your blood pressure at least once every two years is a good way to keep track. However, if you are at risk of having hypertension, having your blood pressure checked every year may be needed.

Some risks for developing high blood pressure include:

  • Smoking
  • Being overweight
  • Lack of exercise
  • A diet high in sodium
  • Over-consumption of alcohol
  • Stress

If you are dealing with hypertension now, then an at-home blood pressure monitor may be a good option. Checking your blood pressure daily may be needed to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level. These monitors are accurate and easy to use. Though taking your blood pressure obsessively isn’t recommended, being able to keep a diary or log of your daily readings can help you and your doctor choose the best treatment plan for you. There are quite a few options for treatment available. Knowing what the source of your high blood pressure is and how it can be controlled will determine what treatments are appropriate for you.

What Are The Treatments For Hypertension

The common treatments for those who have hypertension typically revolve around prescription drugs. There are many different forms of blood pressure medication, all which work a little differently from the other. Those medications include:

  • Diuretics
  • Beta-Blockers
  • Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors
  • Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers (ARBs)
  • Calcium Channel Blockers (CCBs)
  • Alpha-Blockers
  • Alpha-2 Receptor Agonist
  • Alpha-Beta-Blockers
  • Central Agonists

These medications can be very effective, though they can come with some concerning side effects such as erectile dysfunction, intense pain in the feet, dizziness, headaches, heart palpitations and weakness. Oddly enough, some of these symptoms are the same as those that accompany hypertension: dizziness and headaches. This doesn’t mean that these side effects will affect everyone, but they are associated with these medications and caution should be taken when using these drugs.

If your medication is simply giving you the same symptoms as your high blood pressure, perhaps it could be time to find an alternative treatment.More natural treatments that are used to control blood pressure include things like diet and exercise. Many different nutrients can help your heart and blood vessels stay healthy and ward off inflammation. Staying away from high sodium foods is a given when you have high blood pressure. However there are many nutrient-packed foods that you should put on your plate often. Some food that you should add to your diet and the nutrients that they are rich in include:

  • Bananas: Potassium
  • Broccoli: Sulforaphane
  • Quality Nutrition: Green Supplements.
  • Legumes: Potassium
  • Fish: Omega-3 fatty acids and DHA or docosahexaenoic acid
  • Melons: Potassium
  • Yogurt: Calcium, protein and vitamin D

One particular diet that specifically targets those with high blood pressure is called the DASH diet. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. This diet emphasizes portion sizes and getting the right nutrients to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level. The diet is low in sodium but high in foods that are rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium. These foods include lots of vegetables, fruits and low-fat dairy. There are also small amounts of whole grains, nuts, fish and poultry. There are two different variations of the DASH diet, one being the standard diet, and the other being an even lower sodium diet.

Standard sodium DASH diet: This allows you to consume up to 2,300 mg of sodium a day.

Lower sodium DASH diet: This cuts your sodium intake to only 1,500 mg per day.

The DASH diet is an all-around healthy way of eating and its health benefits don’t stop at lowering blood pressure. This diet is also good for preventing osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Both forms of the diet target your blood pressure and can be effective in keeping it at a healthy level. Consulting your doctor to find out which sodium level is best for you is always advisable. While you are snacking on your heart healthy foods, you may also consider some aromatherapy. Certain essential oils have also been proven to have effects on blood pressure, and may help to keep your’s at a healthier level.

A few of these helpful oils include:

  • Lavender
  • Ylang Ylang
  • >Clary sage
  • Lemon
  • Melissa
  • Marjoram
  • Valerian

These oils are all very calming and can help in reducing stress which can also contribute to high blood pressure. It seems that stress is such a huge part of our busy lives that often we don’t realize what it’s actually doing to our bodies. A study from the University of California, Irvine, evaluated 25,205 participants and concluded that putting in more than 41 hours a week can raise the risk of high blood pressure by 15%. Over-time at work is nice when you’re considering your bank account, but if you’re concerned about your health, it may not be the best option.

Having more time to relax and do things that can help you stay healthy, such as cook a balanced meal or go to the gym, could pay off in a much bigger way than your paycheck. Taking at least 30 minutes out of your day to exercise, even if it’s just a brisk walk, can help lower your blood pressure. Also, slow, controlled breathing along with meditation can also help to cut your stress and therefore improve your blood pressure. Along with the essential oils mentioned above is another oil worth mentioning when it comes to repairing your body and staying healthy. Cannabidiol (CBD) oil, which is derived from the cannabis plant, has many medicinal benefits that could help keep your heart healthy.

How CBD Can Help Hypertension

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a chemical in the cannabis plant. This chemical is known as a cannabinoid, and over 100 different types exist in the cannabis plant. Cannabidiol, unlike tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, is non-psychotropic. This means that when CBD is administered, it does not produce a high. THC is typically seen as the party cannabinoid, as it’s THC that gives marijuana its shaky reputation. Though THC has its own set of medicinal benefits, many are understandably concerned about using it and becoming high. However, by extracting CBD oil from the cannabis plant, the psychoactive substance (THC) can not affect the body adversely.

Research is becoming more and more available as our society (and legal system) becomes more accepting of cannabis as a medicinal substance. As we learn more about CBD, we not only know that it is non-psychotropic, but we’re also more aware of the physical and mental ailments that it may be able to treat. In fact, CBD may even help a person who is experiencing dysphoria from THC by preventing feelings of paranoia or panic. This means that CBD can block the effects of THC. Because CBD has been shown to prevent the breakdown of chemicals in the brain such as glucocorticoids (a stress hormone), it could be a viable option for stress-related ailments.

Stress is one risk of having high blood pressure, and being able to control the hormones that induce stress could help those who have stress related hypertension. Studies show that anxiety can be treated using CBD oil. This is said to be because CBD can stimulate the increased production of serotonin, which if it is lacking in our brains can cause depression and anxiety. This increase can also help improve other parts of our lives which can inadvertently help with anxiety such as improving sleep and keeping us more relaxed. This could be considered a side effect as the primary goal is to treat anxiety but it also has the potential to treat sleep apnea then as well. These factors when combined good lead to someone living a better more controlled life and as a result improve their blood pressure levels because they deal with stress better and have an overall less stressful life. It could still be a stressful life, but less stressful.

Studies have also shown that inflammation could pose a risk for those with high blood pressure. A study involving women with C-reactive protein (CRP), which is an inflammation marker, are at a greater risk of having a heart attack or stroke when they also have high blood pressure. Researchers say that these conclusions support the evidence that inflammation is linked to heart disease. One researcher, Paul M. Ridker, MD, MPH, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School stated in a news release:

“This study provides the first evidence that CRP and blood pressure interact to increase the risk of adverse cardiovascular outcomes. At all levels of blood pressure, the patients with higher CRP readings were at substantially greater risk of future cardiovascular events than patients with lower CRP.”

Researchers are unsure whether high blood pressure causes inflammation, and therefore raises CRP levels, or if inflammation is what causes high blood pressure. Either way, they have concluded that the two are related and it is important to note the correlation when preventing a stroke. Ridker also states that:

“This finding has particular interest for the prevention of stroke because we have known for a long time that high blood pressure predicts stroke risk. These data raise the intriguing possibility that lowering blood pressure might also lower CRP levels. If so, we hope this will not only prevent heart attacks but [also] the devastating consequences of stroke.”

This idea also lends to reason that reducing inflammation could help with hypertension and heart health. CBD has anti-inflammatory benefits which could aid in keeping inflammation at bay with those who have CRP and high blood pressure. In a study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, researchers found when CBD was administered to rats with chronic pain and inflammation, it helped in relieving those symptoms significantly.

It has also been discovered that CBD could prevent inflammation from having an effect on oxidative stress. Oxidative stress, according to Dr. Ananya Mandal, MD, is “an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability of the body to counteract or detoxify their harmful effects through neutralization by antioxidants.” Oxidated stress can lead to conditions such as atherosclerosis, heart failure, heart and blood vessel disorders and heart attack. If the body does not have this balance of free radicals and antioxidants, it could inhibit the body’s ability to repair tissue and fight off invading pathogens. This disorder in the body leads to even higher levels of oxidized stress that can cause organ damage. In many cases, trying to target oxidative stress therapeutically has caused further harm as it is very complex. However, one study has shown that the answer to this problem may lie within the endocannabinoid system.

The endocannabinoid system is a collection of receptors that interact with the cannabinoids from the cannabis plant, such as CBD. This study concluded that because of this correlation between the endocannabinoid system and oxidative stress, CBD could be a viable treatment for diseases such as atherosclerosis and hypertension. There is also some evidence that CBD could help in reducing the risk of artery blockage and help with vascular tension. One study found that CBD has the ability to relax the blood vessels in mice when they were in high-pressure environments. It also demonstrated the capability to protect blood vessels that could be damaged by ailments such as high glucose, diabetes and inflammation. Also, this research concluded that CBD could improve blood flow to the brain and reduced the extent of damage done in animals who have had a stroke.

While CBD oil has shown promise in the health world for treating hypertension and other heart issues, there is some evidence that other cannabinoids can raise blood pressure levels temporarily. These levels typically go back to normal fairly quickly, however, long-term effects are possible as well.

A study published in the National Institute of Health found that acute (severe or intense) cannabis use lead to an increase in the subjects (human volunteers) blood pressure and overall heart rate. However, an interesting finding also showed an increase in heart rate between usages i.e. the volunteer showed addiction related symptoms towards cannabis. This is not good for those who advocate for cannabis as an alternative treatment for treating addictive symptoms.

…the study focused heavily on the effects of THC, not CBD. As THC is psychotropic, withdrawal symptoms are connected to this cannabinoid.

CBD is widely recognized by many official organisations (World Health Organisation) as being non-addictive and non-psychoactive with very few side effects.

CBD is unlikely to be abused or create an addiction like the cannabinoid THC.

CBD could be a good option for keeping your heart healthy and your hypertension in check, however, knowing how to begin your journey with CBD may prove difficult. Talking with your doctor about your condition and the possibility of trying CBD oil is always a great way to begin. Also, knowing what is available and how it is administrated can be useful as well.

How To Use CBD

What many people don’t realize is that there isn’t just one strain of cannabis, there are around 780 different cannabis strains that are recognized by cannabis users. This number continues to increase as different growers create more hybrids and strains. Depending on the ailment that you are dealing with, you may want a cannabis strain high in THC or CBD. Both cannabinoids are useful and have their place in medicine. If you are considering a strain for hypertension, however, a high-CBD strain is what you need. Keep in mind that these strains vary depending on the grower, crop and plant. However, there are a few strains that have been bred specifically for their high CBD content for years. These strains have proven their value for medicinal purposes and are a good place to begin your search for the right strain for you. These strains include:

Charlotte’s Web: It wouldn’t do to talk about CBD without mentioning Charlotte’s Web. This strain contains almost no THC and has been used in treating illness such as PTSD and seizures. The almost nonexistent THC content makes this strain hemp. This plant was created by a group of brothers (the Stanley brothers) in Colorado, and used on a girl named Charlotte who had severe seizures. Once taking the CBD oil, Charlotte’s seizure all but stopped and she can now live a relatively normal life. This strain is still relatively hard to find, however the Stanley Brothers company sells the CBD oil online and ships to all 50 states.

Harlequin: This strain has been around since the 1970s. Its low CBD content makes it particularly good for the medical community. Those suffering from anxiety, chronic pain and fatigue typically flock to this strain. It has a pleasant, fruity aroma of citrus and mango, though the flavor is less sweet and more spicy and woodsy.

Sour Tsunami: This strain is one of the highest in CBD, which makes it one of the most desirable for those using cannabis for medicinal purposes. It is was bred by crossing the strains Sour Diesel and NYC Diesel back and forth for about four years until the desired strain was accomplished.

Cannatonic: This is one of the first cannabis strains to have a CBD content that was the same or higher than THC. The CBD content varies with this plant, so experimenting with what works for you is best. About 50% of Cannatonic plants have a high CBD content. This strain can make you feel very relaxed, but shouldn’t cloud your mind as it is recommended for use during the day.

If smoking or vaping is not for you, using pure CBD oil would be a great option. There are many sources out there with great products. CBD oil may be the best option for continuous use as smoking, though can offer quick relief, could lead to lung damage.

Things To Remember When Using CBD Oil
According to Elixinol, here are some things to keep in mind when choosing a CBD oil:

Don’t be cheap when it comes to health: It’s tempting to buy the cheapest oil that you can find, but it doesn’t mean you’re getting the same product. Make sure that the CBD oil that you are purchasing has a high content of CBD. The higher the content, the better the oil. When you are considering your health, going cheap isn’t always the best option.

CBD is not a cure-all: Be cautious of companies that promise you the world. CBD is an amazing medicinal substance, but more research still needs to be conducted to understand its benefits fully. If a company is touting that their CBD oil can cure everything, beware. While CBD oil is amazing, it’s not a miracle cure for every ailment.

Make sure that the oil is non-psychotropic: CBD, by nature, is non-psychotropic. Make sure that your CBD oil has almost no THC and, again, not the cheap stuff. If you are looking to save a buck, you may want to look elsewhere or be happy with a CBD oil that is lower quality and could potentially get your high.

Before using CBD also make sure of your state’s laws. CBD is not legal in all states as it is bundled into the category of a schedule 1 drug alongside THC. Though WHO has come out and criticized the DEA for this categorization, it remains illegal on a federal level despite being non-psychotropic and not addictive. Hypertension is an illness that needs to be further addressed in the cannabis world to fully understand how CBD could be used as a treatment. However, there is evidence that shows it may be a viable option. If you have hypertension and would like to try CBD oil, consult a trusted physician before using any CBD oil products.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
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