Hypertension, also called high blood pressure, affects more than 100 million Americans, says the American Heart Association. High blood pressure is defined as having a systolic blood pressure over 130 and/or a diastolic blood pressure over 80. While it doesn’t usually cause any noticeable symptoms in the course of someone’s day-to-day life, high blood pressure can increase the risk of developing heart disease, a heart attack, or a stroke. There are various ways to treat high blood pressure, including lifestyle changes and medications. CBD, one of the compounds of cannabis, might lower blood pressure in some people. Read on to learn more about whether CBD might be a safe and effective part of your plan to reduce your blood pressure and achieve better health.
How Does CBD Work to Lower Blood Pressure?
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CBD contains anti-inflammatory agents as well as antioxidants. Together, these may help reduce the inflammation that can lead to high blood pressure. In addition, CBD is known to reduce anxiety and help with sleep. In some people, anxiety (and associated insomnia) can lead to short-term or long-term hypertension, so reducing it can also reduce the chances of developing a complication of high blood pressure, such as a heart attack or a stroke. Finally, CBD can help with weight loss, which can also reduce hypertension.
A 2017 study showed that taking a single dose of CBD right before a stressful event can reduce the spike in blood pressure that often accompanies mental and physical stress. While there are not a lot of studies on how CBD can affect blood pressure, the preliminary information shows that it’s possible that it can lower blood pressure in some people. This is worth talking to your doctor about if you have high blood pressure or if you have anxiety that leads to spikes in your blood pressure.
Is CBD Safe for Those With High Blood Pressure?
If you are not taking medication for your high blood pressure and you are following a healthy lifestyle, taking CBD oil, gummies, or other forms of the substance might be safe for you. Always talk to your doctor before adding a new supplement to your regimen to be sure.
If, however, you are taking a blood pressure medication with a warning on the label that says, “do not take this drug with grapefruit,” then you will need to proceed more cautiously. CBD and grapefruit have similar enzymes, and these enzymes can affect the way your body processes certain drugs. Some blood pressure medications have this potential interaction.
If you are taking a medication that cannot be taken with grapefruit, check with your doctor to see if a CBD topical, such as a cream or a roll-on, would be safe for you. These can help reduce anxiety and might also help with your blood pressure, and since less CBD enters your bloodstream, they might be safe for you to use, but this is something that your doctor needs to supervise. Do not stop taking your blood pressure medications (or any other prescribed medications) without your doctor’s express advice.
One other caveat: THC, the substance in cannabis that causes a high, can speed up your heart rate and might be detrimental to someone with hypertension. To be safer, look for a CBD oil or similar product that contains no THC.
How to Take CBD to Reduce Blood Pressure
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Whenever you take CBD for any health condition, it’s always best to start with a small dose and to only increase it once you know how it affects you. Consider finding an organic CBD product from a reputable company, because these products are not currently regulated by the FDA. The most effective form of CBD is oil and tincture that you place under your tongue, or administer sublingually. Edibles, like gummies, are less effective, and topicals like creams are usually even less so.
You can use CBD before a particularly stressful event to reduce a blood pressure spike, or you can take it on a daily basis. Talk to your doctor to see which way of taking it would be best for you.
Other Ways to Minimize Hypertension
CBD will be most effective at lowering blood pressure if you combine it with lifestyle changes. Exercise for 30 minutes or more five or more days per week, and consider following the DASH diet, which focuses on nutrition-packed foods and low levels of salt. Keeping your salt intake below 1,500 mg per day can help you lower your blood pressure. Most of the salt in your diet likely comes from processed foods, so read labels and try to focus your diet on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat protein sources like poultry and fish, and low-fat dairy products.
Hypertension can have severe health effects, but the good news is that you can follow healthy lifestyle practices, take any medications prescribed by your physician, and, if approved by your doctor, try CBD oils, creams, or edibles to see if it helps bring down your blood pressure. Make an appointment to talk to your doctor about ways to get your blood pressure under control so you can live a longer, healthier life.