Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is manufactured by the dilution of CBD extracts with carrier oils such as hemp seed oil.
CBD is a cannabinoid obtained from Cannabis sativa and has the ability to mediate a variety of responses in the body by binding to specific receptors of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). CBD is not psychoactive and has been proven to confer several health benefits.
What is Blood Pressure
Blood pressure refers to the force that is exerted on the arterial walls as the blood is pumped throughout the body by the heart.
It depends on the amount and force of blood pumped as well as the arterial diameter and flexibility.
High blood pressure or hypertension is a widespread problem that usually has no symptoms but acts as a precursor to heart attack, stroke, and heart failure.
Benefits of CBD Oil in Blood Pressure?
The major benefits of CBD for blood pressure is linked to the fact that it acts as a vasodilator. This implies that it relaxes the smooth muscles and widens the arteries to allow the flow of blood and decrease the pressure exerted against the walls. It also acts as a haemodynamic regulator and maintains a steady flow of blood throughout the body.
CBD lowers inflammation and plaque formation driven by atherosclerosis. This helps in further opening up the arteries and promoting cardiovascular health. CBD also improves stress response by preventing blood pressure spikes during anxiety attacks and hypothermia.
1. CBD Oil Is A Vasodilator
Vasoconstriction arises when the muscular wall of the arteries contracts due to which the blood vessels become narrower.
This phenomenon can happen in large arteries as well as small arterioles. The arterial constriction is essentially necessary to hinder the process of haemorrhage and limit the rate of blood flow.
On constriction, the blood flow gets restricted thus increasing vascular resistance and retaining body heat.
As a result, the skin appears to be pale and yellowish as less blood reaches the surface to reduce the radiation of heat. Vasoconstriction slows down the flow of blood and increases the arterial pressure.
120/80 mm of Hg is considered to be the normal blood pressure. Hypertension is the condition where the blood pressure is higher than average and is often associated with persistent vasoconstriction.
Studies have shown that vasoconstriction can be brought about by the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone (RAAS) system whose malfunction might cause hypertension.
This multi-organ hormone system regulates blood pressure by maintaining fluid balance. When the blood flow to the kidneys is reduced, renin is released into systemic circulation which triggers a cascade of reactions to form angiotensin II.
This hormone is responsible for vasoconstriction as well as stimulating the release of aldosterone which facilitates the reabsorption of sodium. Sodium retention increases fluid in the circulation and, along with vasoconstriction, raises the arterial pressure.
Therefore, to reduce blood pressure, vasodilation must be achieved. This is the phenomenon of widening the arterial walls to increase the blood flow.
Most drugs prescribed to lower hypertension are vasodilators that relax the arteries and ease the flow of blood.
A 2017 randomized crossover study by the Royal Derby Hospital Centre and Churchill Hospital investigated the role of cannabidiol (CBD) as a potential vasodilator.
The results showed that a measured dose (600mg) of CBD helped in reducing the resting blood pressure (BP) as well as BP induced by mental and physical stress because it helps in relaxing the arterial walls (vasodilation).
What does it mean?
CBD has the ability to relax the arterial walls allowing vasodilation which, in turn, helps in relieving the pressure off the arterial musculature and lowering the BP.
2. CBD Acts as A Haemodynamic Regulator
Haemodynamics, as the name suggests, refers to the dynamics of the flow of blood.
In order to maintain a stable internal environment, the vascular system is regulated by certain homeostatic mechanisms.
The haemodynamic response gets unwaveringly modulated according to the conditions in the body and the environment.
The blood flow coordinates the movement of oxygen, carbon dioxide, hormones, nutrients, and metabolic wastes across the body to regulate the cellular metabolism, maintain the pH balance, body temperature, and osmotic pressure.
Vascular fluid also helps in protecting the body from pathogenic infections as well as mechanical wear-and-tear.
Haemodynamics relates the blood pressure with the pumping action of the heart. Cardiac output refers to the rate of blood flow out of the heart.
The blood is pumped out into the aorta which is the largest artery wherein the pressure generated causes a pulsatile blood flow.
A flawed haemodynamic response would disrupt the normal flow of blood and increase the pressure on the arteries.
Studies have shown that alternative medical therapies have been beneficial in reducing the blood pressure by acting as haemodynamic regulators.
The phytocannabinoid, CBD, has shown immense potential in moderating the flow of blood yet more studies are needed to allow its frequent usage.
A 2013 review by the University of Nottingham evaluated the potential benefits of CBD in promoting cardiovascular health.
It showed that CBD improved response to stress and stabilized the blood pressure in such situations by maintaining a steady flow rate.
An oft-cited 2015 study by the New York University School of Medicine which investigated the role of CBD in reducing stress and anxiety also found that this cannabinoid confers cardiovascular benefits.
CBD prevents a blood pressure spike in stressful conditions by regulating the flow of blood in the arteries and improving the haemodynamic response to stressors.
What does it mean?
CBD acts as a haemodynamic regulator and maintains the flow of blood throughout the body in a steady way. It, therefore, helps in preventing sudden spikes in BP and protects the cardiovascular health.
3. CBD Is Anti-Inflammatory
The inflammatory response is often associated with the development and progression of hypertension.
This is because a sustained increase in blood pressure is not only brought about by the constriction of arteries and decreased flow rate but also by remodelling of the entire vasculature which further promotes vascular resistance.
Inflammation is a normal response to the presence of foreign particles in the body and it often stimulates a series of reactions that are required to overcome the infection.
However, an abnormal immune response might give rise to a persistent state of inflammation which can potentially damage body tissues.
For instance, C-reactive proteins have often been associated with vascular inflammation and lesions that resist blood flow.
Chronic inflammation poses a major problem for cardiovascular health. It not only raises the resting blood pressure but might also lead to more severe outcomes such as atherosclerosis.
Presence of pro-inflammatory signalling molecules (cytokines) in the circulatory system might affect the blood vessels by severely constricting them and aiding the deposition of plaque.
Studies are being conducted to resolve the problem of inflammation in the circulatory system.
Drugs prescribed to inhibit the progression of atherosclerosis can potentially lower the risk of heart diseases and also regulate the arterial pressure.
A 2009 review by the University of South Carolina showed that phytocannabinoids like CBD can act as anti-inflammatory drugs.
CBD interacts with receptors of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and helps in lowering the rate of inflammation in the body.
It also helps in relieving oxidative stress and both these factors reduce arterial inflammation and plaque formation. Coupled with its role as a vasodilator, CBD helps in relaxing the arteries.
What does it mean?
CBD is anti-inflammatory and helps in lowering atherosclerosis which furthers promotes the relaxation of arteries.
4. CBD Oil Relieves Anxiety & Stress
Anxiety is generally a response to stressful circumstances and can be beneficial in certain ways as it improves our overall alertness to certain dangers.
However, the entire spectrum of anxiety disorders might range from natural feelings of nervousness to prolonged periods of excessive and unreasonable fear (anxiety and panic attacks).
Anxiety disorders take up a major part of mental illnesses. Increase in stressors in daily life can trigger severe anxiety attacks that can affect physical well-being as well.
During panic attacks, the blood pressure gets elevated and feelings of fear and paranoia are often associated with pale countenances brought about by vasoconstriction.
While anxiety disorders do not lead to hypertension, frequent episodes of anxiety can cause dramatic spikes in BP.
When such attacks become recurring, the spikes can cause sufficient damage to the arteries and, in the long run, can affect both heart and kidney health.
Drugs like serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors to treat anxiety can also increase the BP.
Since the 1970s, cannabis and its products have been used to treat anxiety-related disorders. However, with the progress of medical research, it has been found that it is the cannabinoid CBD that has the calming effect.
A 1993 study by the University of São Paulo showed that a measured dose of CBD helped in reducing anxiety-induced stress in subjects.
This was associated with a stabilized blood pressure without any unnatural cardiac symptoms such as palpitations or arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat).
A 2017 meta-analysis conducted by the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte and the University of São Paulo provided evidence behind the effect of cannabidiol on anxiety disorders.
The review showed that CBD has marked anti-anxiety effects as shown by both experimental studies and clinical trials.
What does it mean?
As CBD helps in treating anxiety disorders by having a calming effect on the mind and the body, it helps in protecting the blood vessels from unnatural spikes in blood pressure.
5. CBD Improves Cold Stress Response
Hypothermia or cold-related stress can lead to severe consequences like tissue damage.
The major factors that contribute to cold stress are low temperatures, cold winds, dampness, and cold water.
When the surroundings are cold, the body is forced to produce more internal heat to maintain the normal temperature of 98.6˚F.
In a cold environment, the metabolism mostly works to maintain the normal body temperature by generating internal heat.
If the external temperature becomes very low, the haemodynamic response mobilizes the flow of blood away from the hands and limbs and towards the core (vital organs). One of the mechanisms to combat cold stress is vasoconstriction.
Cold-related vasoconstriction increases the arterial blood pressure to maintain the internal heat.
Excessive incidents of hypothermia can severely affect the blood vessels and highly elevate the blood pressure.
Several studies have been conducted to find therapeutic strategies to improve the response to cold stress, primarily by lowering the blood pressure.
In a 2017 randomized placebo-controlled study published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation (JCI) Insight, it was revealed that nine healthy volunteers exposed to cold stress were administered 600 mg of CBD.
The results showed that while there was an increase in heart rate, the blood pressure was lowered.
The blood pressure was monitored while the subjects were exposed to various stresses.
The results showed that CBD effectively regulated the blood pressure and lowered the systolic (upper limit) blood pressure by approximately 6mm of Hg after exposure to cold stress.
What does it mean?
CBD helps in lowering the blood pressure even after cold stress but maintains the heart rate and therefore protects the arteries from excess damage.
CBD products usually contain some amount of the psychoactive THC and, therefore, it is advisable to consult a healthcare provider before consumption.
Depending upon the necessity, the medicine can be orally ingested or inhaled by a vaporizer.
There is no particular prescribed dosage for CBD to lower blood pressure but the effective range is between 300-600mg, depending upon sensitivity to the therapy.
The treatment should begin with smaller doses and then progress on to a higher dose until a measurable effect is observed.
Vaporizers can be used to provide instant relief in case of temporary spikes in bp and 6-8mg should be inhaled to have a good effect.
The phytocannabinoid, CBD, has very few known side-effects.
A 2011 review revealed that even high doses of 1500mg can be tolerated per day for a period of up to 3 months without producing any unwanted complications.
However, individuals with low blood pressure should refrain from using it as it might lower the BP further.
CBD products usually contain varying amounts of the psychotropic tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in them which is mostly responsible for the side-effects.
Now the quantity of THC permitted in medicinal products is quite inadequate but sensitive individuals might still experience the hallucinatory effect.
CBD inhibits the activity of cytochrome p450, a class of liver enzymes responsible for metabolizing drugs and therefore, CBD usage might affect the efficacies of certain medications.
Medicines containing excessive THC might cause dizziness, disorientation, nausea, fatigue, impaired balance, hallucinations, and paranoia.
They might also cause tachycardia, a condition wherein the heart rate gets rapidly raised for a short duration.
Cannabis products which have a moderate amount of THC should not be accompanied by alcohol.
Pregnant and lactating women should consult a gynaecologist before consuming CBD-containing medicines.
Caution should also be maintained while administering THC-containing products to children and adolescents as it might affect their CNS differently.
To summarize, it can be said that cannabidiol (CBD) is quite useful in lowering the blood pressure and relaxing the arteries.
The chief reason for its efficacy is that it acts as a vasodilator and helps to widen the blood vessels to promote blood flow and decrease the pressure against the walls.
It also improves the haemodynamic response to stresses by mediating the flow rate.
Being anti-inflammatory, CBD helps in reducing the damage caused by arterial plaque formation or atherosclerosis.
It lowers inflammation and oxidative damage which otherwise promote arterial constriction. CBD also has a calming effect and helps in combating panic and anxiety-associated hypertension.
Finally, CBD improves the response to cold stress by stabilizing the blood pressure and preventing any unnatural spike.