CBD & Your Cardiovascular System – What Research Is Out There?
Research at the University of Nottingham in the UK has been focused on observing the effect of CBD treatment on blood pressure. Previously the university experimented using rat models. However, a paper was released in 2017 and presented to the 29th annual International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS) this year revealing using a human study, researchers found that CBD treatment could in fact reduce blood pressure, even under conditions of raised heart rate.
The results sound exciting, so let’s break them down a bit – nine healthy male volunteers were given a 600 mg dose of CBD in a randomized, placebo-controlled double-blind crossover study. The blood pressure and heart rate of the volunteers was monitored at rest and after exercise.
The study found that there was a resting systolic blood pressure reduction of 6 mmHg and resting stroke volume reduction of 8 ml before and after induced stress. It’s worth noting that CBD treatment was also associated with a slight increase in heart rate (10 bpm increase).
How Keeping Your Blood Pressure Down Can Keep You Standing Up
Blood pressure is a tricky thing, we all know the things that are meant to help keep it low, and the guilty pleasures we love that can hike it up! Simply put, your blood pressure consists of your systolic and your diastolic blood pressure. We’ll break down some terms below:
- Systolic pressure: This is the highest pressure in the blood vessels, and is caused by the contraction of the heart.
- Diastolic pressure: This is the lowest pressure in blood vessels in between heartbeats when the muscles in the heart relax.
- Stroke volume: The cardiac output from the left ventricle in the heart, or simply the amount of blood pumped in one contraction. Together with the heart rate the stroke volume determines the output of blood per minute.
The ‘normal’ adult blood pressure is considered to be around 90/60 mmHg and 120/80 mmHg – and high blood pressure is caused by a number of lifestyle choices and health complications. Just because you go to the gym regularly and your bodies good doesn’t necessarily mean your hearts keeping up. Common causes of high blood pressure are smoking, stress, high intake of cholesterol or trans-fats, found in meat (which the average gym-goer consumes a lot of!) and also in a wide variety of junk foods. Having a high blood pressure is known as hypertension, and it comes with some serious complications …
Hypertension, as defined by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is a blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg. It doesn’t just affect older adults either, over 2.1 million people under 45 in the UK alone were found to have a high blood pressure in 2015 and the Global Burden of Disease in 2015 report highlights it as the second biggest global risk factor for disease in the world, and the largest single known risk factor for cardiovascular diseases.
Cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure can lead to risks of heart failure, coronary artery disease, stroke, chronic kidney disease and vascular dementia. A such, keeping a low blood pressure and a healthy heart ensures you can train harder for longer and live a more active fulfilled life.
While research on CBD is still in its early days, we’re not claiming any major benefits to CBD supplementation with regards to blood pressure and heart health, and if you choose to incorporate CBD into your daily regime we recommend you always consult with your physician beforehand.
- Forouzanfar, M.H., Alexander, L., Anderson, H.R., Bachman, V.F et al., (2015) Global, regional, and national comparative risk assessment of 79 behavioural, environmental and occupational, and metabolic risks or clusters of risks in 188 countries, 1990–2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013. The Lancet, 386(10010) 2287–2323. Available from https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0140673615001282.
- 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). Available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28614793.