Cannabidiol (CBD) is a popular natural supplement for anxiety, pain, insomnia, and other issues. But can it also help with high blood pressure?
Also known as hypertension, high blood pressure affects about 25% of adults worldwide and is the leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Some people report a fall in blood pressure after using CBD. More importantly, studies in healthy adults found that CBD lowered blood pressure and reduced its rise during stressful situations.
Read on to learn more about how CBD can help you maintain healthy blood pressure.
How CBD Can Help
Researchers are not entirely sure how CBD works to lower blood pressure. One theory is that CBD inhibits the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), which can raise blood pressure.
Another theory is that CBD affects the vagus nerve, which controls your blood pressure and heart rate. It’s also possible that CBD can lower blood pressure indirectly, by reducing anxiety and stress.
Lastly, we know that CBD can interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system keeps your body in a healthy state of balance called homeostasis. To achieve this, the ECS regulates many processes, including cardiovascular function.
What the Research Says
There were two recent studies of CBD’s effects on blood pressure in healthy adults.
In the first 2017 study, researchers gave nine men a single dose of placebo or CBD capsules (600 mg). The capsules were taken at rest and during stressful situations that cause your blood pressure to rise, including exercise and exposure to cold temperatures.
Unlike placebo, CBD lowered resting systolic blood pressure by 6 mmHg. Similarly, during the stress tests, CBD lowered the rise in blood pressure by 5-6 mmHg.
In 2020, the same researchers performed a larger study. This time, they tested the effects of CBD in 26 men after both single and repeated doses.
The study participants were given placebo or CBD capsules (600 mg) daily for a week.
A single dose of CBD lowered resting mean arterial pressure, although this effect disappeared after repeated dosing. Meanwhile, both single and repeated doses of CBD reduced the rise in systolic blood pressure in response to exercise by 6 mmHg.
CBD also had a positive effect on arterial stiffness and endothelial function — two measures of cardiovascular health.
Although studies in people with hypertension are needed, the available evidence shows that CBD can lower blood pressure.
CBD Safety & Side Effects
One of the main advantages of CBD is that it’s safe and can’t get you high.
According to research, CBD is a well-tolerated compound with only minor side effects, such as tiredness, sleepiness, dry mouth, and low blood pressure.
Using CBD for High Blood Pressure
If you’re new to CBD, it’s important to start with a small dose. Begin with 10-15 mg of CBD and monitor your blood pressure over the next two hours to make sure it doesn’t drop too much.
Then, you can gradually increase the dosage until you find the amount that gives you the desired reduction in blood pressure.
Although both of the studies discussed above used a very high dose of CBD (600 mg), this doesn’t mean that you’ll need to take that much to get an effect.
You can either use CBD as needed or regularly, such as once in the morning and once before sleep. CBD’s effects last for at least a few hours, so you can expect your blood pressure to gradually return to normal after that.
Ideal CBD Product for Blood Pressure
Although CBD comes in many forms, we recommend using CBD oil because it’s cost-effective, has long-lasting effects, and is absorbed better than capsules.
In particular, full-spectrum CBD oil is the overall best option. Full-spectrum products contain the full range of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other beneficial compounds found in hemp. By working in synergy, these natural compounds strengthen the beneficial effects of CBD.
This means you can use a smaller dose of full-spectrum CBD to get the same effect as pure CBD.
Alternatively, you can vape CBD, which will work almost instantly but at the cost of shorter-lasting effects.