Heart Disease & CBD Oil: Research & Benefits for Cardiovascular Health
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, killing over 600,000 people every year. It causes a range of health problems that, according to the American Heart Association, will place a financial burden of $1.1 trillion on the American healthcare system over the next 15 years.
Given these numbers, there’s no question that finding a treatment for heart disease is a top health priority in the U.S. Everything from lifestyle changes to prescription medications to supplements like CBD oil are being explored as possible options. Here’s what to know about the potential cannabidiol (CBD) holds for managing the symptoms of heart disease.
Benefits of CBD Oil for Heart Disease
Risk factors for heart disease can be hereditary, but are often related to Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, poor diet, and even stress. By removing these risk factors, the likelihood of being diagnosed with heart disease drops greatly. Luckily, CBD oil may be able to help manage the majority of these afflictions.
CBD oil may help manage the internal systems that play a role in heart disease by reducing inflammation and levels of cortisol, the “stress hormone,” in the body. But, one of the best ways to prevent—and treat—heart disease is through a healthy diet and exercise. On paper, making these changes sounds easy, but in reality, implementing these lifestyle choices can be tough. CBD oil can reduce some of the muscle aches and pains that come with exercise, making the experience more pleasant and appealing to many people.
People who have or are at risk for developing heart disease are often prescribed a cocktail of different medications, depending on their symptoms. Some common heart disease medications fall into the categories of anticoagulants and blood pressure medicines like angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs). Unfortunately, these medications can come with some unpleasant side effects.
Particularly in the case of ACE inhibitors and ARBs, CBD oil may be a viable option. These medications carry side effects that can include:
- Dry cough
- Flu-like symptoms
- Nausea and vomiting
CBD oil has the potential to similarly reduce blood pressure and hypertension without causing these same side effects.
While CBD doesn’t have any direct interaction with the cardiovascular system, it’s role in the endocannabinoid system has shown to be beneficial to heart health, encouraging healthy blood flow in animal models of stroke, stress, and diabetes. While more research is certainly needed, results from recent studies on using CBD oil for heart disease are encouraging.
Effectiveness of CBD Oil for Heart Disease
There are many different ways that CBD oil may be effective in managing heart disease. It’s showing strong potential for reducing inflammation, blood pressure, and cholesterol, which all contribute to heart disease. Here’s a look at the research that’s been conducted so far.
CBD Oil For Reducing Inflammation
One of the areas in which CBD oil has been most studied is its role in reducing inflammation. Inflammation of the heart can occur for numerous reasons, including environmental causes, unrelated diseases, and even the use of some medications. When the heart becomes inflamed the cardiovascular cells may become irreparably damaged, or even die, a process known as apoptosis. If left untreated, an inflamed heart can ultimately result in death.
In a 2010 study, researchers wanted to see if CBD could reduce cardiac dysfunction, oxidative stress, inflammation, and cell death in the hearts of mice with diabetic cardiomyopathy. (Cardiomyopathy is a disease that affects the heart muscles, making it difficult for the heart to pump blood to the body.) When CBD was administered, it reduced heart inflammation, oxidative stress, cell death, cardiac fibrosis, and myocardial dysfunction. The study concludes with a hopeful message: “Collectively, these results coupled with the excellent safety and tolerability profile of CBD in humans, strongly suggest that it may have great therapeutic potential in the treatment of diabetic complications, and perhaps other cardiovascular disorders.”
In a 2007 study, researchers examined CBD’s effect on cells lining the coronary artery, the main supplier of blood to the heart, in diabetic conditions. When researchers administered a high dose of glucose to human coronary artery cells to mimic diabetic conditions, the cells exhibited an inflammatory response associated with the greatest risks that come with diabetes. When the cells were pretreated with CBD, however, the inflammatory response was markedly reduced, pointing to CBD’s potential to help combat the inflammation and plaque build-up of of heart disease born from conditions like diabetes.
Finally, a 2009 review by the University of South Carolina School of Medicine looked at the potential for using cannabinoids an anti-inflammatory drugs. One of the key findings from the review was cannabidiol’s effect on cytokine production. Cytokines are small proteins released by the body in times of stress, and are one of the primary initiators of inflammation. CBD has been shown to reduce cytokine production, thereby stopping inflammation before it even begins.
The review reports “current studies suggest that cannabinoids are useful therapeutic agents in the treatment of various inflammatory disorders” and concluded, “overall, cannabinoids have exhibited significant potential to be used as novel anti-inflammatory agents.”
More research and clinical trials need to be conducted on cannabidiol’s anti-inflammatory properties, specifically as they pertain to heart health. However, what’s been produced so far is promising.
CBD Oil for Lowering Blood Pressure
One of the ways that CBD impacts the body is by widening of blood vessels, which allows for increased blood flow. It is for this reason that CBD is sometimes considered a risk for pre- or post-operative patients. However, in the case of heart disease, especially that associated with hypertension, these effects are beneficial in reducing blood pressure.
High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease because it can cause permanent damage to artery walls and overwork the heart. Ultimately, it can result in coronary artery disease, ventricular hypertrophy leading to heart attack, or heart failure.
A study by the University of Nottingham in 2017 found that a single dose of CBD significantly lowered blood pressure in volunteers both when resting, and when under stress. In fact, some studies have even found CBD to have a risk of hypotension, or low blood pressure, in vulnerable groups such as infant test animals.
CBD Oil for Reducing Cholesterol
While there aren’t a significant number of studies published on CBD’s role in reducing cholesterol, some research has indicated that CBD oil may increase the metabolism, resulting in quicker processing of calories and fat, and decreasing blood cholesterol levels.
Products derived from hemp contain omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, as well as many polyunsaturated fats. These play a key function in preventing bad cholesterol from building up in the body’s arteries.
A study by the Department of Neurology at the Weizmann Institute of Science conducted analysis into cannabinoids on a cellular level and reported that CBD controls cholesterol homeostasis in microglial cells. While certainly not conclusive, it points to where future research on CBD oil and heart disease may be headed.
How to Take CBD Oil for Heart Disease
Deciding to take CBD oil for heart disease symptoms or prevention is a personal one. Before you begin supplementing, it is essential that you talk things over with a physician. While generally considered safe, CBD oil can interact with some medications, so it is best to make sure that CBD oil is a risk-free option for you.
Once you have been given the go-ahead by your doctor, you will need to decide how you want to take CBD oil. There is a wide range of products and delivery formats to choose from. Ultimately, what you decide will come down to your personal preferences and needs.
CBD edibles and capsules offer the same dose of CBD every time. They are slow to take effect, sometimes up to an hour, but they can last up to 6 hours. CBD oil tinctures or drops can provide more immediate effects and last upwards of 4 hours. Tinctures and drops are perfect for someone looking for dosage control as it is easy to adjust amounts up or down, depending on need.
Inhalants like CBD flower or CBD vape oils can be great for immediate relief. With these formats, the CBD is absorbed directly through the lungs, going to work within minutes. Unfortunately, the effects do not last long and are typically spent within an hour. If you frequently experience stress or anxiety-inducing situations that can quickly elevate blood pressure, you may consider these options for spot treatment.
Finding the right CBD oil for you can take a little trial and error. You may even find that a combination of products is the answer.
Again, it’s essential to consult your doctor before you begin using CBD oil.
Dosage of CBD Oil for Heart Disease
When deciding on a starting dosage, begin with the lowest recommended serving listed on your CBD product. There is no universal standard dosage of CBD oil because how it impacts you will largely depend on a variety of factors such as the delivery method and your metabolism. In order to better understand how much CBD oil to take, you can check out our dosage guide here.
If you need a starting point, at CBD Oil Review we have analyzed hundreds of products and come up with the following:
The CBD Oil Review Serving Standard is 25mg of CBD, taken twice daily
If you are not getting results from this amount, we recommend increasing the serving size by 25mg every 3-4 weeks until you find relief.
The Best CBD Oil for Heart Disease
There is no single product that can be called the best CBD oil for heart disease. Any high-quality CBD product that suits your needs and provides the relief you’re after is “the best” for you.
In order to help you find the best CBD oil products, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
- Know the laws. CBD oil is legal at the federal level if it is derived from hemp and has a THC content of 0.3% or less. However, because states establish their own laws, CBD oil is not legally available everywhere. It is important that you understand what you can, and cannot, purchase in your state before you buy.
- Check the THC. In states that have legal access to medical and recreational cannabis, it’s likely okay to buy a CBD oil that has a THC content greater than 0.3%. If you live in a state that has tight cannabis restrictions, or would prefer not to ingest THC, you’ll want to shop exclusively for products containing broad-spectrum CBD oil, or a CBD isolate.
- Look for Certificates of Analysis (COAs). Look for brands that post a Certificate of Analysis for every batch of CBD product they produce. These certificates are lab results that will allow you to verify both the THC and CBD content of the product, and check for any heavy metals or contaminants.
- Read the label. Check the ingredients list on any CBD product before you buy it. You will want a product that is sourced from organic hemp and does not contain any artificial additives. For the most part, CBD oil products shouldn’t contain much more than CBD or hemp extract, a carrier oil like MCT or hemp oil, and natural flavoring.
Heart disease is a real threat to millions of Americans, and sometimes the treatment options are limited or risky. While the research is ongoing, CBD oil may present an effective treatment alternative for those with this deadly condition.
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