Is CBD Capable of Improving High Blood Pressure?
By Keith Alban
As more cutting edge research is conducted on the medicinal attributes of cannabidiol, new potential applications emerge. If you're not yet familiar with this unique, popular supplement taking the natural health and wellness world by storm, it may be time to familiarize yourself with what CBD can potentially do for you. CBD is now found in many health food stores, online retailers, vape shops, and is making its way into more mainstream chains each and every day. The appeal of this cannabinoid is somewhat unprecedented because of the number of applications and great safety profile it displays. Every few months, more studies are emerging on the potential benefits of cannabidiol as a therapeutic tool for different ailments and health conditions.
There are still some people that may associate CBD with marijuana and not take advantage of its medicinal benefits. Although both compounds can be found in the marijuana plant, there are over 100 different types of cannabinoids, each with its own unique set of actions within the body. THC is perhaps the most popular cannabinoid in the world, known for its “high” that it causes in the brain and body. CBD is incapable of causing any type of narcotic effect or intoxicating feeling. It's safe for kids to use and has been tested quite thoroughly several times. CBD was even investigated and deemed absolutely safe by the World Health Organization. (1)
The Shocking Statistics of High Blood Pressure
As we often hear, high blood pressure is one of the most pervasive medical issues for millions of people in this country. It's estimated that around 75 million American adults have high blood pressure according to the standards that have been set. That comes out to around 1 in 3 people with hypertension or prehypertension, which is somewhat shocking. Although not all cases of elevated blood pressure are super threatening, many cases require urgent resolutions. High blood pressure affects arterial walls and is a reflection of the health of our veins, arteries, capillaries, several organs, and the circulatory system. High blood pressure is said to be a primary or contributing factor in over 1000 deaths each day. (2)
Although that statistic is somewhat frightening, this article is meant to explore CBD and other potential options to improve blood pressure and overall arterial health. It's important to not put off fixing high blood pressure, preferably without medication. While medication may help take the pressure down for a little while, it won't contribute to improvements in endothelial (important tissue that lines the arteries and veins) and arterial health. Medication may be helpful for short term relief if blood pressure is incredibly high, but unless certain specific actions are taken to correct the underlying causes, problems may still be occurring inside the body.
The causes of high blood pressure are quite numerous, ranging from:
Toxins and heavy metals
Kidney imbalances and malfunctioning (can be due to toxic buildup in the kidneys)
The buildup of arterial plaque and foam cells in the arteries
Overactive and stressed nervous system
Electrolyte & mineral imbalances
Lack of physical activity
CBD Research for Hypertension
cannabinoids can influence these receptors in a positive manner. Preliminary research has shown that CBD may positively influence hypertension, although many other compounds are needed along with CBD to have a more profound influence on chronic high blood pressure.
One double-blind, placebo-controlled study at the University of Nottingham recruited 26 human subjects to test CBD's effect on cardiovascular health. The subjects were given 600 mg of CBD or a placebo for one week. The group using CBD saw a tangible reduction in arterial stiffness, an improvement in the blood flow within the carotid artery, and improved endothelial functioning. These markers indicated potential improvements in all around vascular function, although longer clinical trials are needed to elucidate CBD's value to the vascular system. (3) This is great news that cannabidiol may have this type of effect on the arteries.
Research has shown that a reduction in blood pressure by only 5 mmHg can potentially reduce the risk of a heart attack by 21%, and a stroke by over 30%. Lowering blood pressure may also decrease the potential for dementia and overall mortality. A test with adult males showed that CBD was able to reduce blood pressure by an average of 5 mmHg in response to stress, and 6 mmHg when at rest. (3) Although this result isn't overwhelming or anything, it's still highly significant for anyone struggling with high blood pressure. Any natural agent that can achieve a tangible reduction in blood pressure has great value.
Not all studies have seen a significant drop in blood pressure from CBD use though. Despite the lack of consistent reductions, CBD may offer the cardiovascular system and brain protection no matter if there's a drop in blood pressure or not. In preclinical models, CBD had the ability to offer protection following a stroke or heart attack. This research would need to be replicated in humans, although such a study isn't easy to conduct. CBD may be capable of protecting neurons from cell death and reducing infarction size following a stroke. This does not mean it will prevent a stroke from occurring or affect the outcome or possible mortality. CBD also showed in animal models to reduce the number of ischemia related arrhythmias and normalize heart rhythm under certain circumstances. (4-5)
Though this research is preliminary, it is still fantastic news for those that are concerned about their cardiovascular health. While CBD may not be able to fix cardiovascular health or resolve blood pressure that's through the root, it's a great addition to a more comprehensive program. This is one more potential benefit on the ever-expanding list of medicinal attributes. There are several other nutrients that crucial for improving blood pressure and cardiovascular health that should be used with CBD for more powerful results. It's unfortunate that natural options with powerful research aren't valued or discussed by cardiovascular specialists or doctors. Modern medicine is a business first, which makes certain options unable to be discussed if it can't be patented into a medication.
Important Deficiencies Associated with High Blood Pressure
The first step to improving any health problem should always start with testing for and correcting deficiencies. It's nearly inevitable in this modernized world with depleted soils that certain deficiencies form at some point. Replenishing these nutrients may help improve health conditions quite dramatically sometimes. Several different nutrient deficiencies have been seen in studies with participants that were diagnosed with high blood pressure. There's a reason these nutrient deficiencies aren't discussed by doctors or cardiologists as the first course of action. This would take away business from the medical establishment.
Zinc - Zinc is obviously a very important mineral for so many enzymatic reactions and metabolic processes in the body. It's one of the more common deficiencies because of the high levels of anti-nutrients we ingest coupled with not eating enough zinc-rich foods. Many plant-based foods that contain decent levels of zinc also contain phytic acid and other anti-nutrients that prevent efficient absorption. Since eating organ meats and other nonplant-derived nutrients isn't very common, it leads to zinc deficiencies.
One study ran several experiments to see if there's a relationship between zinc and hypertension using mice. When mice were fed a low zinc diet, researchers found that blood pressure increased. The mice were then split into two groups and fed different amounts of zinc. The group of mice that were fed higher levels of zinc saw significant improvements in their blood pressure, while the other group didn't. (6) Not all studies have linked low zinc levels to hypertension, some have no correlation, but it's incredibly important to maintaining homeostasis along with other minerals. Most forms of supplemental zinc aren't well absorbed, the patented optizinc form is ideal.
Potassium – Potassium is one of the most common deficiencies when it comes to hypertension. Unless there is some sort of kidney disease or condition that causes issues in eliminating potassium, consuming a larger amount will usually impact blood pressure in a very positive way. The recommended amount of potassium is set at around 4300-4700 mg per day depending on the source. The average person consumes about half of that, some even less. Potassium is an incredibly important intracellular electrolyte that plays a pivotal role in the conduction of electrical signals in the body and relaxing the walls of the blood vessels. There are several studies linking low potassium levels to hypertension and a higher risk of stroke. (7)
Magnesium – Magnesium is another incredibly important mineral and electrolyte that is needed for hundreds of enzymatic, metabolic processes in the body. It is also one of the most common deficiencies in the United States according to quite a few studies. Magnesium is very relaxing to veins, arteries, and blood vessels, which helps to keep them dilated properly. While magnesium won't lower high blood pressure to a large degree, studies do show a slight decrease when supplementing. One study showed a 2 mmHg reduction in BP with around 350 mg per day of supplementation. (8) This dose is far too small though, especially when you consider absorption is very poor with most forms of magnesium. Supplementing with 400 mg twice per day of magnesium glycinate would likely cause a more significant drop.
Vitamin D – There have been several studies that have linked low vitamin D3 levels with hypertension. One study in particular conducted at a hospital in Mumbai showed that over 80% of people the high blood pressure had vitamin D deficiencies. (9) Another study by a group of Danish researchers ran a double-blind, placebo-controlled study that proved this theory once again. Patients that were given vitamin D3 supplements showed improvements in blood pressure after several months. Systolic pressure was reduced by 6.8 mmHg, while diastolic was reduced by 1.7 mmHg. (10) Not all people will respond to taking supplements though and need natural sunlight and animal-based foods that are high in D3 to raise their levels.
B-Vitamins – Although many people take b-vitamins in multivitamin formulas, they're often in the wrong form and difficult to process. Several B-vitamin deficiencies have been linked to high blood pressure and an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. This higher risk stems from low B-vitamins causing an increase in homocysteine levels. A study of almost 600 people with hypertension showed several deficiencies within the B-complex. (11) Riboflavin may be very beneficial for those with high blood pressure according to one large study. B-6, B-12, and others may play a crucial role as well in helping to lower homocysteine levels that can increase cardiovascular disease. (12) Supplementing with a full B-complex formula that's been converted, activated, or methylated is ideal.
From the research that's been reported in the last 10+ years, it's clear that CBD has the ability to regulate and balance the human body in certain ways. While it won't balance all aspects of the human body or automatically cure disease, it's one of the rare substances in nature that can influence over 50 receptors in the brain and body. The endocannabinoid system is a highly influential network of receptors that helps to maintain homeostasis throughout the body. Cannabinoid receptors have been found all throughout the body, and CBD with synergistic
Other Natural Supplements for High Blood Pressure
Herbs such as arjuna, maitake mushroom extracts, hawthorn, hibiscus extract, grape seed and skin extract, reishi, olive leaf extract, jiaogulan, schisandra, and ecklonia cava may offer significant benefits for not only blood pressure, but other aspects of cardiovascular health. These nutrients have multifaceted benefits without any potential side effects. Each compound listed has some positive research for high blood pressure. Natural medicine can help to relax the arteries, balance adrenaline and cortisol, dilate blood vessels, and improve endothelial tissue health
We all have a choice to take action when it comes to our health and it's up to us to be proactive. Sometimes it can be very confusing to know the steps that are needed to be taken in order to see tangible improvements in our health, but with research and guidance, positive results can occur. Utilizing CBD with several of the nutrients listed may help to significantly lower and balance blood pressure readings. Using one single nutrient is rarely the best way to experience ideal improvements. Hypertension forms for a variety of reasons that need to be addressed in order to see the type of resolution that makes you excited and your doctor shocked. Detoxification of certain heavy metals and pathogens may also be needed, but the first step is to consider deficiencies and incorporate certain nutrients to see how your body responds to them. Our bodies need adequate levels of nutrients to function properly and when that doesn't occur, it can be thrown out of balance.