With many states legalizing or decriminalizing cannabis for medical use, many patients with heart problems are wondering if the substance may be able to help them.
Many people in the US suffer from high blood pressure, or as it’s also known, hypertension. This can lead to further problems, including a heightened risk of stroke and heart failure. This condition is caused or made worse by a number of modern day habits from unhealthy eating habits to stress and increased use of alcohol and tobacco.
So what do we know about the effects that cannabis has on our bodies and our blood circulation.
Short Term Versus Long Term Effects
Studies would suggest that some cannabis users could have a small increase in blood pressure and heart rate immediately after using cannabis. This doesn’t apply to every user and it is dose specific, depending on how much of the substance is used at the time. These short-term effects occur within just 10 – 15 minutes of using cannabis.
Over a few days of use, this short term effects can disappear as the user builds up some kind of resistance. Repeated use seems to bring about a lower heart rate and lower blood pressure and these long-term side effects mean that users can experience low blood pressure that stays low whilst they use cannabis.
Strokes And Heart Attacks
Cannabis has been studied time and time again in studies relating to heart attacks and stroke and each time, the studies conclude that cannabis has no link between long-term use and an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.
It is difficult to tell whether or not rare incidents involving cannabis consumption were related to other substances or not. Many people use alcohol and tobacco at the same time as they use cannabis so reports cannot determine if those who suffer a heart attack or stroke after using cannabis experienced their health issues as a result of something other than cannabis.
One study at Harvard University found that cannabis users had risk that was 5 times lower than normal of suffering a heart attack for one hour after using it. Within 2 hours, it would seem that the risk of heart attack returns to normal.
Cannabis And Hypertension
The body has a natural version of the psychoactive ingredient of cannabis known as THC. This chemical is responsible for relaxing the blood vessels in the body, naturally lowering the blood pressure. Although no cannabis based medications have been released to date to deal with hypertension, studies show that THC would be an effective way of keeping blood pressure low. Regular use of cannabis seems to offer long-term low blood pressure.
With more research going on all the time into these conditions and many others, it looks as though it will only be a matter of time before more patients are able to access this powerful and safe alternative medication.