Cannabis Reduces Blood Pressure in Adults? Researchers Seem to Think So

A groundbreaking, first-of-its-kind Israeli study on how cannabis reduces blood pressure promises great things for the future.

Old man smoking cannabis joint

Summary:

  • Scientific researchers in Israel have discovered something truly remarkable — cannabis could be effective in lowering blood pressure in adults.
  • The study focused on adults over 60 years old with a diagnosis of hypertension and their blood pressure was found to be significantly lower after cannabis therapy.
  • This is the first study of its kind to focus on cannabis’ effect on blood pressure.
  • Researchers believe that the pain-reducing qualities of cannabis contributed to blood pressure reduction seen in patients.
  • There is little research on the effects of cannabis and the cardio-vascular system on older people, despite them being the fastest-growing group of cannabis users.
  • Hypertension is believed to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s in the elderly.
  • Alzheimer’s currently affects over 5 million Americans and is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

Scientific researchers based at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Israel have found cannabis to be effective in lowering blood pressure in adults. 

The study, which was published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine, took place over a period of three months. 26 patients over the age of 60, who have a diagnosis of hypertension (high blood pressure), were monitored while resting over several 24 hour periods. Their blood pressure, as well as heart rate and metabolic parameters, were observed before and after treatment.

It was found that patients showed a bigger drop in resting blood pressure and heart rate with treatment compared to those without. The changes were found to happen three hours after ingesting cannabis, either orally via pill or by smoking, and were more pronounced overnight.

“Cannabis research is in its early stages and BGU is at the forefront of evaluating clinical use based on scientific studies,” chief executive officer of American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of Negev, Doug Seserman said. “This new study is one of several that has been published recently by BGU on the medicinal benefits of cannabis.”

The researchers also believe the pain-relieving properties of cannabis played a role in the reduction of their patients’ blood pressure.

How Cannabis Consumption and Reduced Blood Pressure Helps You

Cannabis consumption is widely acknowledged as a potential treatment for acute, chronic, and neuropathic pain, as well as anxiety, post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and glaucoma (amongst others). Now it seems blood pressure could be added to the list.

High blood pressure is no joke. It can lead to serious health complications, including:

  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Kidney failure 

The thought that cannabis may help reduce these risks is huge news. Cannabidiol, cannabis’s most loyal and trusted cannabinoid, has already shown promise in reducing blood pressure. It’s, therefore, essential for us to see what a whole range of plant compounds (CBG, CBC, terpenes, flavonoids, etc) can do for your blood pressure.  

Reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease?

Research into hypertension has found there is a link to Alzheimer’s disease. A study in 2018 revealed that older people with high blood pressure suffered from ‘lesions’ in the brain, which is known to be a common marker of Alzheimer’s. 

“High blood pressure, uncontrolled, causes damage to virtually every organ system,” Jeff Keller, director of the Institute for Dementia Research and Prevention at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, told the American Heart Association. “It shouldn’t be surprising that the brain, the most vascularized and energy-dependent organ of the body, is greatly the most damaged by fluctuations in blood pressure control.”

Cannabis consumption may, therefore, prove to be a useful preventative treatment given its ability to reduce blood pressure. 

High Blood Pressure, Alzheimer’s, and Cannabis Use Common in Older Adults (Yet Little Research Exists)

Alzheimer’s disease is more common in the elderly. People above the age of 60 are more at risk but early-onset symptoms start to develop from the age of 30, 40, and 50. It’s a progressive disease that affects brain function, causing severe memory loss, confusion, speech, writing, poor judgment, and personality changes. 

Older adults represent the fastest-growing group of cannabis users. Despite this, there exists very little research on the health effects it may have on this cohort, which is why this research is so crucial.

“Evidence on cardio-vascular safety for this population is scarce,” says Dr. Ran Abuhasira, from the BGU Faculty of Health Sciences. “This study is part of our ongoing effort to provide clinical research on the actual physiological effects of cannabis over time.”

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 5 million Americans are currently suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, which amounts to one in ten people over the age of 65. This number is predicted to rise to over 15 million by 2050.

One in three elderly sufferers die from the disease, which makes it currently the sixth highest cause of death in the United States, and it cost the nation around $305 billion last year.