If a new study out of the United Kingdom is anything to go by, near-immediate stress relief through CBD may be possible – it suggests that blood pressure can be lowered and blood circulation improved with just one dose of the therapeutic cannabis compound.
Cannabis scientists have known that the herb can reduce blood pressure for around 40 years, although it’s only now that we’re learning the psychoactive properties of marijuana are not required to achieve these stress-busting effects. The Journal of Clinical Investigation has published a study from the University of Nottingham in England touting the relaxing effects of CBD while noting its lack of psychotropic side effects.
Reduce blood pressure with a single dose
The British study which was admittedly small – it featured only nine adult male volunteers – was published in June 2017. The research involved comparing how CBD affected various cardiovascular functions by administering either a single 600mg dose of CBD or a placebo to participants.
The research team investigated how CBD products affect heart rate, blood pressure, stroke volume and forearm skin blood flow. Stroke volume measures the amount of blood pumped from the heart’s left ventricle. The left ventricle’s role is to pump oxygen-rich blood to other organs in the body.
Stress tests, including exercise and exposing participants to cold temperatures, were used to study how CBD helped the body respond to stressful situations, with researchers measuring cardiac responses.
What the study revealed
The study uncovered several positive traits of CBD. The researchers anticipated that CBD would reduce the cardiac response to stress, and this was confirmed with the reduction in systolic blood pressure experienced at rest and when under stress.
Stressful scenarios generally cause an increase in blood pressure, and exposure to such situations can add up over time and have a negative effect on the heart and overall health. Therefore, the revelation that CBD can not only reduce blood pressure, but do so with just one dose, is very encouraging.
CBD and other cannabis compounds are vasodilators, which help to increase blood flow by easing tension in the arteries. By upping the flow of oxygen-rich blood into tissues, it’s possible that CBD and cannabis as a whole could help with hypertension and similar conditions.
Although, the University of Nottingham team was keen not to be too hasty about their findings, reminding that additional research would be needed. The reduction in blood pressure brought with it a slightly increased heart rate, and decreased stroke volume. The latter means that the heart would have to work harder and pump faster to get oxygen-rich blood around the body.
Exercising after being administered CBD increased heart rate by roughly 10 beats per minute. Interestingly, the output of nutritious blood was exactly the same, whether the participant was given CBD or a placebo.
The researchers commented that their research was the first indication that acute CBD administration helped to reduce blood pressure in humans while at rest, and also that this situation led to a higher heart rate and lower stroke volume.
The authors added that past studies had found that the same 600mg CBD dosage did not increase heart rate. The participants in this British study had never tried marijuana and therefore CBD before, making 600mg a very high dosage. Older studies had used participants who were more experienced with marijuana and its reactions.
Unsurprisingly, the research team mooted that the body may build a tolerance to how CBD impacts heart rate with regular use. However, this study is still ground-breaking, as it has shown that CBD can reduce blood pressure in many people.
Its potential as a heart medicine is clear to see, although more studies are needed – preferably consisting of many more participants of various demographics. Only then will the medical marijuana community will be able to advocate CBD as a stress-relieving substance with confidence.