CBD’s popularity has been given a boost by the fact that two CBD-containing medicines have been approved for prescription use by the NHS in England: Epidyolex, which has been found to reduce the number of seizures in children with severe epilepsy, and Sativex, which contains a mixture of CBD and THC, and is licensed for treatment of muscle stiffness and spasms in people with MS.
CBD is the latest health craze to sweep the high street, with claims it can help everything from chronic pain and inflammation to anxiety. But what is CBD, and can it really help the heart? Emily Ray finds out.
What is CBD used for?
Inflammation is part of the process that leads to many diseases, including coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke, and there is some evidence that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties. Other studies have suggested that CBD can have a protective effect on the heart: this has been proven in rats after a heart attack and in mice with some of the heart damage associated with diabetes. But because these studies are often based on findings in a lab or in animals, not in humans, we cannot yet be confident that CBD will benefit the human heart.
There is ongoing research into the use of purer forms of CBD for a variety of conditions, including heart and circulatory diseases and, in particular, diseases of the heart muscle, including myocarditis and some types of cardiomyopathy.
“It’s clear that CBD has potential,” says Professor Sumnall, “but we’re at a very early stage of that research.”
The sample size of these studies was small and further research is required to establish whether CBD has a role in the treatment of cardiovascular disorders, but the results are promising.
Anxiety can lead to rapid heart rate and palpitations, leaving you at risk for high blood pressure and heart disease.
According to federal law, hemp-derived CBD oil is classified as having less than 0.3% THC, making it legal to purchase and use. And since hemp has minuscule amounts of THC content, CBD oil from this type of cannabis plant does not cause any of THC’s intoxicating side effects. Marijuana-derived CBD oil, whether it’s derived from sativa or indica-dominant plants, contains more than 0.3% THC as its primary active ingredient, and may make you high. It is only legal in states with recreational or medical marijuana legalization.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), acute pain can lead to high blood pressure. Because CBD acts on the pain receptors in the brain, the pain-relieving properties of CBD could lead to decreased blood pressure.
High blood pressure can lead to cardiovascular complications such as heart disease, heart attack, stroke, aneurysm and heart failure. The condition is exacerbated by type 2 diabetes, stress, anxiety, inflammation, high cholesterol levels, insomnia, a diet high in salt, and alcohol and tobacco use.
High blood pressure can be naturally lowered by reducing stress, salt intake, and consumption of alcohol and tobacco. You can also lower your blood pressure by exercising regularly and eating more fruits and vegetables.
As Park explained, high blood pressure can be caused by many factors. Fortunately, there are several health benefits of CBD that could indirectly help with hypertension.