CBD and the Heart. What the research says and potential uses

The following article is a video transcription from Cardiologist Nathan Ritter, MD.

Dr. Ritter gives you Heart Medication Descriptions, and Heart Medication Side Effects.

Do not start or change your medication without discussing it with your doctor. This article presents health education, not medical advice.

CBD does indeed have proven effects on the cardiovascular system.

First let’s look at the pre-clinical work that which means study of CBD in animals, test tubes etc. 

Animal studies show that it protects blood vessels from damage due to high blood sugar, protects the heart from damage when blood flow to it has stopped, and it reduces blood pressure response to stress.

CBD decreases platelet clumping which can decrease the chance for stroke and heart attack. So there clearly is some science that shows it could be helpful in preventing or treating heart disease.

But what about studies in people?

Animal studies give us clues that treatments could work but only with human studies can we actually know. Human studies in the heart space is shockingly limited.

I have only one study to tell you about by Khalid A. Jadoon, Garry D. Tan and Saoirse E. O’Sullivan who represent the Division of Medical Sciences & Graduate Entry Medicine, University of Nottingham, The NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Center, Oxford Centre for Diabetes, and the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust.

The study’s results show that “a single dose of CBD reduces blood pressure in healthy volunteers.” Nine men got 600 milligrams of CBD or placebo and the CBD decreased the blood pressure 6 points and increased the pulse 10 beats per minute, the effect lasted from 30 minutes after taking it to about 2.5 hours after taking it.

This suggests that CBD decreases blood pressure but it was only a single dose study and effect was brief so it’s unknown if tolerance would build up over time and the effect would decrease. 

If you have experience with how CBD effects your blood pressure, please comment below we want to hear about it.

Side Effects

The main side effects relate to the study we just talked about. CBD can decrease blood pressure and increase heart rate so somebody who has trouble with low pressure, it might get worse if they took CBD. 

Low blood pressure problems are like light-headedness, feeling like you are going to pass out, and weakness. So somebody who has low blood pressure and those symptoms could get worse with CBD.

Also, CBD could increase a heart rate in somebody who already has trouble with palpitations or high heart rate. Occasionally I see patients with those issues and you might think that CBD could make that worse. 

On the other hand though, because CBD helps with anxiety, people who have high heart rates related to anxiety, might have their heart rate decrease with CBD so that would be a variable side effect to a person who had a problem with heart rate. 

The other standard CBD side effects are fatigue, weight change, diarrhea, so those could certainly happen with anyone who used CBD for their heart.

Unfortunately, when you ask most doctors about medication interactions and CBD they are basically not going to know. They will probably just Google it and then they will tell you they read about how this doctor at the Mayo clinic said what you should do is ask your doctor so it goes around and around.

Basically, the key to know is that CBD and grapefruit have similar interactions with heart medications so you can look up how grapefruit interacts which your heart medicines to give you some idea of how CBD would interact with them.

Always consult your doctor before taking CBD with your existing heart medications.