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CBD Oil and Cardivascular Heart Disease: Benefits, Side Effects, and Treatments

Every year about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack. In the United States alone, someone experiences a heart attack every 40 seconds. Almost half of all Americans (49% to be exact) have at least one risk factor for developing heart disease in their lifetime. Can it really happen to anybody at any time? 

Can CBD help treat or prevent heart disease?

Few people actually know that cannabinoids can be used to maintain heart health, treat heart conditions, and lower blood pressure (just to name a few). As cannabis becomes more widely accepted, information about cannabis extracts, like CBD oil, and its potential to cure many ailments has been an eye-stopping topic in research and medical sectors alike. 


In today’s article, we will be discussing the therapeutic advancements of CBD for heart health as well as updates with what’s going on in the current research.
Ready, set, let’s lub-dub!

The Endocannabinoid System, heart health, and the effects of CBD 

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) consists of both the central and peripheral nervous systems. Endocannabinoids that are synthesized in the central nervous system (CNS) are involved in pain perception, motor functions, learning, memory, and stress responses, to list a few. Endocannabinoids can also be synthesized in the peripheral nervous system (PNS) including tissues of the heart, GI tract, and blood cells, where they influence inflammatory responses, blood pressure, heart rate, and vasodilation. 

According to the Journal of the American Heart Association, the endocannabinoid system plays a major role in the cardiovascular system, especially in disease states. CBD has been suggested as a potential therapeutic method for various disorders of the cardiovascular system.  

So what’s “heart health”? What constitutes for a healthy heart?

Over the average lifetime, according to Harvard Health, the heart beats up to 2.5 billion times - pumping millions of gallons of blood (I mean MILLIONS) to every part of the body, every second of your life. This steady flow of blood carries fuel, hormones, a host of cells, oxygen, and many other compounds. When the heart stops beating, essential functions fail, almost instantaneously. 

The heart is a never-ending workaholic (in the best way, of course) - it performs so well, for so long, so many of us. Unfortunately, our hearts can also fail, being slowed down by a poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, some not-so-lucky genes, and much more. 

Many people can develop some form of cardiovascular disease (CVD) throughout their lifetime. Luckily, developing CVD is not inevitable. A healthy lifestyle goes a loooong way in preventing cardiovascular diseases and issues. 

Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and lowering the amount of daily stress in your life, are key to ensuring your heart stays healthy.

WHAT IS Cardiovascular Disease (CVD)

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a global epidemic representing the leading cause of death in Western countries. According to the American Heart Association, 92.1 million US citizens have one more forms of CVD, with numbers expected to grow up to 44% of the US population in the next ten years. Yikes. 

Cardiovascular disease refers to a group of conditions that generally involve blocked or narrowed blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pain, or stroke. Other conditions that may affect your heart's muscle, valves, or even sinus rhythm, fall under the umbrella of heart disease.

The Journal of the American Heart Association suggest that endocannabinoids may be a promising approach as a therapeutic agent for cardiovascular disease (CVD).

CURRENT THERAPEUTIC APPROACHES TO Cardiovascular Disease

CVD PREVENTION

1) Exercise

A 2005 original study published in Experimental & Clinical Cardiology found that individuals who exercise on a regular basis reduce overall blood pressure and decreases LDL and total cholesterol, and increase HDL cholesterol.

2) Diet

In the same Experimental & Clinical Cardiology paper noted above, researchers concluded that a plant-based diet can help prevent and potentially reverse coronary artery disease ( also referred to as CAD - this falls within the CVD umbrella too). Coronary events were shown to be reduced by 70%-73% in all-cause mortality in the plant-based diet individuals. 

3) CBD Oil

A 2012 article published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology made an impactful footprint on the role of cannabinoids and the cardiovascular system. 

Researchers found that CBD treatment protects against heart damage and cardiomyopathy, which is associated with diabetes. Similarly, CBD has been shown to reduce infarct size (aka tissue legion). CBD also reduces the cardiovascular response to models of stress. In addition, CBD influences the survival and death of white blood cells, migration, and platelet aggregation in blood.
These preclinical data findings appear to support a positive role for CBD oil and heart health. 

CBD For Congestive Heart Failure

When a person has congestive heart failure, the expression of the cardiomyocytes, heart muscle cells, and endothelial cells change as well as the amount of circulating immune cells. In cardiomyocytes and endothelial cells,CB2 receptors initiate inflammation and CB1 receptors promote cardiac dysfunction, even cell death.

Published in the Journal of the American Heart Association in 2018, CB1 antagonism and CB2 agonism were suggested to be anti-atherogenic. A specific CB1 antagonist can be used to treat obesity and reduce the progression of atherosclerosis by lowering proinflammatory cytokines.

Cannabidiol therapies directed at the ECS may relax human pulmonary arteries in an endothelium-independent manner.

Effects of CBD on Heart Rates and Arrhythmia

Frontiers in Pharmacology published a systematic review and meta-analysis in 2017 summarizing the effects of cannabidiol. Of the 22 publications assessed, CBD had no effect of blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR) in controlled conditions. During stressful situations, CBD administration significantly was shown to reduce the increase in blood pressure and heart rate that was induced by stress. One study included in this systematic review and meta-analysis assessed CBD administration on cardiac arrhythmias and found no change in BP. 

CBD was suggested  to have no effect on blood pressure, heart rate, and cardiac arrhythmias. 

Does CBD Lower Blood Pressure?

In 2017, researchers studied the effects of a single dose of CBD and its effects on blood pressure in a randomized cross over study. The participants were healthy male volunteers who were placed in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover study to either 600 mg of CBD or a placebo. Researchers found that CBD-treated participants showed reductions in resting blood pressure, reductions in stroke volume, increases in heart rate, and maintenance in cardiac output. 

This recent study found that one dose of CBD was effective in lowering blood pressure. 

Does CBD Increase Blood Pressure

In 2012, researchers reviewed cannabidiol as a therapeutic target for the cardiovascular system. They found that CBD treatment, in vivo, did not appear to have any effect on resting blood pressure or heart rate, but did show reductions in cardiovascular response to various scenarios of stress. 

This review presented evidence of CBD having positive effects in the cardiovascular system. 

Effects of CBD on Blood Pressure

A 1999 study performed on mice found that CBD treated mice had similar blood pressures to vehicle-treated mice. The CB1 receptors involved in the control of blood pressure were shown to be tonically inactive. Regardless of the mechanisms involved, cannabinoid-induced vasodilation may have therapeutic implications on vascular diseases.

Blood pressure may not change significantly with CBD intake. 

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD)  MANAGEMENT & TREATMENT

There are different options that individuals can consider for treating CVD, naturally and with pharmaceutical regimens. 

Natural treatments include: Drug regimens include:
  • Lifestyle changes/adjustments Antihypertensive agents
  • Increased physical activity Statins
  • Changing to a healthy diet Beta-blockers
  • Losing excess weight Blood-thinning medications
  • Stopping smoking
  • Decreasing stress
  • CBD oil

For most individuals, a combination of both options listed above can help reduce your risk of developing CVD. Just like making a delicious smoothie, you add a combination of ingredients to get your ideal drink!

When considered together, the options reported above show that the probability of heart attack events or stroke is decreased with long-term regular exercise. These vascular angiogenic effects developed by physical activity, lend additional support to the hypothesis that exercise is tremendously beneficial for the cardiovascular system. Individuals who exercise on a regular basis after having a heart attack lower their risk of death by 20-25% compared to individuals who don’t exercise after having their first heart attack. 

A 2010 study by Walsh et al. analyzed the administration of  cannabidiol in cardiac arrhythmias and infarct size. Researchers found that not only did CBD demonstrate cardioprotective characteristics by reducing ventricular arrhythmias, but also attenuating infarct size. 

Research On the effects of CBD Oil and Cardiovascular Heart Health

According to the World Health Organization, cannabidiol (CBD) is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile. Preclinical studies show that CBD has numerous cardiovascular benefits. 

This study found that one single dose of CBD was shown to reduce resting blood pressure.

A recent 2017 study published in JCI Insight assessed the effects of a single dose of cannabidiol in a randomized crossover study. Nine healthy male volunteers were either given 600 mg of CBD or a placebo. Researchers demonstrated that CBD administration reduced resting systolic blood pressure and stroke volume, increased heart rate, and maintained cardiac output. 

CBD may be used as a treatment for various cardiovascular disorders, such as hypertension, heart attack, and stroke.

A 2017 systematic review and meta-analysis of the hemodynamics effects of cannabidiol discussed important findings in the cannabidiol literature, thus far. CBD did not affect hemodynamics under control conditions per se, however, the analysis did reveal the effects of CBD in pathological situations. CBD may regulate the hemodynamics when altered at times of stress or acute illness. 

Conclusion: Using CBD Oil As Treatment For Congestive Heart Failure

Let’s put this heart back together now, shall we? 
Whether individuals are in prevention, treatment, or management stages of cardiovascular disease, CBD oil holds true as a therapeutic, all-natural method for reducing inflammation, blood pressure, stroke volume, infarct size, and overall cardiovascular disorders. These studies suggest that the cardiovascular system is a valid and therapeutic target for CBD.   
However, more human subject research studies are needed to fully determine and assess the efficacy of CBD oil as a treatment for CVD. Large sample size, randomized, controlled trials are needed to better assess the benefits of CBD oil, including their effects on CVD and hemodynamics. Until then, the systematic reviews and original articles suggesting that CBD has positive effects on CVD hold promise. 

Curious about what Nanocraft Sciences has to offer? Keep reading!

* DISCLAIMER: The information in this article is for educational purposes only. It does not exploit or provide medical advice of any kind. Therefore, any reliance you place on the information below is strictly at your own risk. Please check with your medical provider before starting or changing a CBD routine.

HOW TO USE CBD

New to CBD? check out the related link to the new user guide.

Cannabinoid Options of Application:

Transdermal (Skin)-Topical Salve: This application is typically used for acute and direct application. Such as an ankle sprain, arthritis, tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, carpal tunnel, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia and migraines. Full-spectrum salves provide a whole panel of cannabinoids for increased potency.

Edible CBD Application:

Tinctures: Tincture oils are utilized in full-spectrum form (whole plant-derived) and Isolated forms (Pure CBD) that are applied directly under the tongue or mixed in water. This form is typically used for direct application to the central nervous system and the entire body for ailments like anxiety, stress, epilepsy, insomnia, sleep disorders, depression, PTSD, autoimmune responses, ADHD, cancer, systemic inflammatory diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. All applications are available as CBD isolate, broad-spectrum and full-spectrum.

Soft Gels: Full-spectrum soft gels essentially have the same application as tincture oils. The difference is that each soft gel is measured to a specific milligram to provide a consumer with a perfectly measured dose of CBD. This would be used for any ailments one might use CBD for, including all the ones listed above.

 Superfood powder: Superfood green powder has a broad range of greens, phytonutrients, vitamins and of course CBD. This application is great to give some nice, clean energy boost before a workout or just to get your day started naturally with improved focus.

Sources:
  1. Alfulaij N, Meiners F, Michalek J, et al. Cannabinoids, the heart of the matter. J Am Heart Assoc. 2018. 
  2. Buttar HS, Li T, Ravi N. Prevention of cardiovascular diseases: Role of exercise, dietary interventions, obesity, and smoking cessation. Exp Clin Cardiol. 2015. 
  3. Cannabidiol (CBD) critical review report. The World Health Organization (WHO). 2018. 
  4. Jadoon KA et al. A single dose of cannabidiol reduces blood pressure in healthy volunteers in a randomized crossover study. JCI Insight. 2017.
  5. Stanley CP, Hind WH, O’Sullivan SE. Is the cardiovascular system a therapeutic target for cannabidiol? British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. 2012.
  6. Sultan SR, Miliar SA, et al. A systematic review and meta-analysis of the haemodynamic effects of cannabidiol. Frontiers in Pharmacology. 2017. 
  7. Walsh SK, Hepburn CY, Kane KA, Wainwright CL. Acute administration of cannabidiol in vivo suppresses ischaemia-induced cardiac arrhythmias and reduces infarct size when given at reperfusion. British Journal of Pharmacology. 2010.

Kirsten Thornhill, MS
Nanocraft Sciences
Content Writer x Physiologist x Researcher
Kirsten Thornhill was born and raised in a small farm town in Stanislaus County, California. Kirsten graduated with a Master of Science degree in exercise physiology from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, CA. She is very passionate about human physiology and the metabolic and nutritional adaptations that occur during exercise in active individuals and athletes. Kirsten has specialized in maximal oxygen consumption testing in athletes and teaching laboratory, clinical, practical, and research applications of exercise testing to college students. She enjoys educating and informing people on the importance of lifetime movement, plant-based eating, and health research and development. Her passion for natural, lifestyle medicine enables her to strive when promoting health and education.

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