One of the reasons why marijuana has been accepted internationally as a drug that can be used for either or both recreational and medicinal purposes is that it has a lot of therapeutic benefits and medical uses that are all backed by science and research. But there is a growing question in regards to its other effects. As such, one can only ask this: does marijuana lower blood pressure?
That is indeed a legitimate question when you are discussing the health benefits of marijuana. After all, heart conditions and high blood pressure are closely interrelated, and many Americans and other people worldwide suffer and die from heart diseases. That is why knowing whether o not cannabis has a positive effect on blood pressure is an important topic to discuss as it can potentially save lives in the long run.
What is high blood pressure, and how does it affect us?
If you are happening to wonder what high blood pressure is and why we need to lower it, you need to understand that it is closely related to many different heart diseases and conditions that can instantly cause death if not given medical attention right away. In fact, high blood pressure is one of the leading causes of heart attack and stroke anywhere in the world and not just in America, where people are often larger and heavier than in other countries thanks to the unhealthy diets that most Americans tend to follow.
First off, blood pressure refers to how hard your body or your heart is pumping the blood against the sides of the blood vessels found all over your body. Medically, the condition wherein your blood pressure is higher than normal is what is called as hypertension. This is a condition that can take years to develop as different factors (not just a poor diet) can contribute to it.
Hypertension can have symptoms such as headaches, nosebleed, shortness of breath, dizziness, and chest pain. Hypertension can also potentially lead to heart conditions known as hypertensive heart diseases. These diseases are actually the leading cause of death that is related to hypertension or high blood pressure. And if a heart attack happens in an instant, it can lead to fatality when the person is not given immediate medical attention. In the US alone, a third of the adult population has high blood pressure that can potentially become fatal if left unchecked. That is why it is important for us to keep your blood pressure at a normal level.
The best way to treat hypertension or to lower blood pressure is a change in lifestyle. This includes eating a healthy and balanced diet while regularly exercising. Prescription medicine also helps in lowering a person’s blood pressure. However, there are studies that show that natural remedies can also help lower blood pressure. As you might have guessed, this includes our favorite natural remedy, the cannabis plant.
Marijuana and its effects on blood pressure
Going to the meat of it all, studies have indeed shown that marijuana consumption does indeed have a positive effect on lowering a person’s blood pressure. However, what you need to take into consideration in such studies is that they suggest that cannabis consumption actually increases the heart rate and the blood pressure on a short-term basis shortly after the person consumes it. The increase in blood pressure tends to be mild to moderate and is not too serious to the point that it can shoot up the person’s blood pressure to cause major heart problems. Following that effect, a person will actually experience a hypotensive effect that moderately decreases his heart pressure.
What does that mean when it comes to how marijuana affects a person’s blood pressure? Well, it means that such are merely short-term effects that do not really prove anything because of how the blood pressure can actually go back to normal after the effects die down. But that does not mean that marijuana does not have any long-term effects that can possibly be an offshoot of this short-term moderate hypertensive and hypotensive episode.
It is suggested that if a user regularly consumes marijuana, he will develop a tolerance to the effects that come with it. Of course, this includes the hypertensive and hypotensive episodes that happen after marijuana is consumed. As a person adjusts to the initial hypertensive or increase of blood pressure episode following weed consumption, he will steadily begin to acclimate to the effects until such time that he will no longer experience such an effect. That is why many people who consume marijuana on a regular basis report that they have normal or healthy blood pressure levels. Research also suggests that repeated marijuana use has been linked to the lowering of heart rate and blood pressure in many individuals that are regularly consuming cannabis.
Yet, there was also a study that showed that those who used marijuana saw slight increases in their blood pressure as compared to those who did not consume weed in a span of 30 days. However, what needs to be taken into consideration here is that there are many possible factors that can possibly lead to higher blood pressure following an episode of marijuana consumption. An increase in appetite as a result of smoking weed can very well lead to poor dietary decisions. Meanwhile, smoking anything that is combusted, as research related to cigarette smoking suggests, has a direct impact on a person’s cardiovascular health. As such, there is no concrete proof that will clearly show that marijuana is a direct cause of hypertension.
So, what does that all mean? Does marijuana lower blood pressure? Well, in summary, here are the key points that you might want to look at when considering how marijuana can affect a person’s blood pressure:
- There are not a lot of studies that can prove the relationship that marijuana has with hypertension.
- The few studies that were indeed conducted contradicted one another. As such, both sides can be considered unreliable as of the moment.
- An increase in blood pressure due to marijuana consumption can be attributed to indirect effects that are caused by cannabis, such as when a person gets the munchies and will eat unhealthy food.
- Marijuana should still not be used as the main remedy for lowering blood pressure even if individual personal experiences do indeed suggest that it has a positive effect against hypertension.
- For those who are suffering from high blood pressure, the best way for you to lower it is still to take your doctor’s advice and to follow a healthier and more active lifestyle supplemented by prescription medication.