Cannabidiol (CBD) has recently become popular as a result of its many health benefits. It’s been used in oils, creams and gummies, and is known to alleviate chronic pain, anxiety and even heart disease. Although there is quite an amount of research confirming these effects, more substantial research is needed to solidify them. In addition, most CBD products are not regulated by the FDA. The only FDA-approved CBD containing drug is Epidolex, approved for use in Epilepsy. Looking at all this, should you go for CBD if you want to fight heart disease? This article will explain all you need to know to make an informed decision and help you understand if CBD lowers blood pressure.
What is CBD?
CBD is a major cannabinoid present in cannabis. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol, (another major cannabinoid found in this plant), it does not cause you to get “high” when you take it. CBD works on the endocannabinoid system, a system responsible for maintaining homeostasis in the body. When there’s inflammation or disease, CBD triggers this system to keep your body in check.
CBD and Heart Disease
CBD possesses anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and these may decrease certain risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure and related conditions such as stroke.
High blood pressure
One of the main risk factors for hypertensive heart disease is high blood pressure. Studies have shown that CBD lessens stress, a known trigger of high blood pressure.
A 2009 study on mouse models proved that CBD does indeed reduce stress. In this study, rats were placed under stressful conditions which caused a spike in their heart rate and blood pressure. A single dose of CBD was able to lower both blood pressure and heart rate in these rats.
A similar study was conducted on human volunteers in 2017. This study showed that a single dose of CBD reduces high blood pressure caused by stress in humans.
Although more research is needed, these studies are on to something. However, according to a review of 25 studies, CBD does not produce the same effects in non-stressful conditions. It’s best to speak to your doctor before you start taking CBD.
Heart disease is a risk factor for stroke. When a blood clot prevents blood from reaching your brain, it’s called an ischemic stroke. When a blood vessel in the brain bursts, it’s called a hemorrhagic stroke.
It has been reported by some studies that CBD improves cerebral blood flow and quickens brain recovery after a stroke. These were reviews of animal studies; therefore, more research is required to support these results.
How to use CBD
Taking CBD sublingually is safer than vaping, and it works faster anyway. As stated earlier, over-the-counter CBD products are not FDA-regulated, so it’s advisable to consult your doctor before you start taking them.
Always buy your CBD from trustworthy sources which sell organic CBD. It is recommended that you ask your pharmacist for a recommendation, otherwise seek a third party tested product. This is important because a 2017 study reported that only 31 percent of CBD products correctly labelled the exact concentration of CBD and other cannabinoids contained in the bottle.
It’s always best to start out with a small dose of CBD. If you wish to increase it (as long as there are no side effects), it should be done slowly and with caution; by no more than 5-10 milligrams at once.
Other Indications for CBD
It has been recently discovered that CBD, along with certain other active ingredients found in marijuana may work against chronic pain. CBD works on the endocannabinoid system, which is involved in pain, sleep and stress management.
By stimulating the endocannabinoid receptor, CBD has been found to help in reducing chronic pain and inflammation
Two animal studies demonstrate the effects of CBD on chronic pain. One reported results of reduced pain as a result of surgical incisions, while the other showed that oral treatment of CBD in the animals significantly reduced sciatic nerve pain and inflammation.
The combination of CBD and THC in various human studies have shown to give a positive result in the treatment of pain related to sclerosis and arthritis.
In search of a natural means to tackle depression and anxiety, CBD oil has piqued the interest of the health community. But does CBD help with anxiety?
CBD intake is associated with an increase in serotonin levels. This can help people with mental health issues, including anxiety, as they usually manifest as a reduction in serotonin levels.
A number of Brazilian researchers found out that a 300-mg dose of CBD was extremely effective at reducing anxiety. In this study, 57 men orally received CBD 90 minutes before they took a stimulated public speaking test, and their anxiety was measured. However, the placebo (150mg CBD) and 600mg of CBD had no reasonable effect on anxiety.
3. Cancer related problems
CBD may aid in reducing various symptoms of cancer as well as certain side effects of chemotherapy such as nausea and pain. It may also serve as a potential alternative to other drugs which sometimes show to be ineffective.
A study was conducted to test the effects of THC and CBD on people with cancer-related pain who were not relieved from their regular pain medication. It was shown that this combination caused significant decrease in pain compared to those who received just the THC extract.
4. Neuropathic pain
It has become a common belief among researchers that due to CBD’s active ability on the brain signaling system (one of which is the endocannabinoid system), it may be of a good help to those with neurological disorders.
One of CBD’s most promising and well-researched use is in the treatment of neurological problems, even though this aspect of research is relatively new. An example is Sativex, a combination of CBD and THC which has been proven to be safe and effective in the treatment of muscle spasticity in people with multiple sclerosis.
There have been more studies on this; one study demonstrated Sativex’s ability to reduce spasm in 75% of people with multiple sclerosis and another showing a mean reduction of 36.5% of severe epilepsy in patients administered with CBD oil.
Side effects and safety concerns of CBD
Although quite a number of researchers and the World Health Organization Trust Source have stated that CBD is safe and not addictive, a few things are still to be looked out for if one was to make use of CBD.
Possible side effects
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in weight
CBD reactivity can also pose a problem by interfering with other medications and liver enzymes which can alter and even stop the liver from being able to metabolize other drugs or substances, thereby disrupting homeostasis. It is advised to talk to the doctor about possible drug interactions before taking CBD.
Research also suggests that CBD may increase the risk of liver toxicity, just like alcohol and certain medications. Concerns have been expressed regarding CBD’s potential for liver damage.
Consult Your Doctor
Before taking CBD, even if it’s not for the first time, you should meet the doctor about the correct dosage for the ailment. Mentioning other drugs which you may be currently taking at that moment would also be very helpful to avoid adverse drug interactions.
Although research on CBD and heart disease is promising, understanding the benefits of CBD for various other conditions would be indeed useful.
Is CBD legal?
Hemp-derived CBD products are not illegal on a federal or and state level. The reverse is the case for marijuana-derived CBD. Nonprescription CBD products are certainly not FDA approved and state laws should be checked before purchasing such products.