Heart disease is—and has been for decades—the leading cause of death in the United States. As many as a quarter of the deaths in the country can be attributed to heart disease, particularly in the case of males. Often, those dealing with known cardiovascular issues are given a directive to improve diet and exercise and are prescribed some sort of daily medication for their symptoms. For some cardiovascular patients, however, basic fitness and mainstream medications aren’t enough to address their concerns.
Could alternative treatments like cannabidiol (CBD) be beneficial to supporting cardiovascular health? According to research into the cardiovascular system as a possible therapeutic target for CBD, the answer is a resounding “yes.” In a 2012 study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, researchers found that cannabidiol directly affects the arteries, relaxing constriction and reducing overall cardiovascular inflammation. Researchers also observed a promising reduction in infarct size and an increase in blood flow in animal stroke models, plus protective abilities against vascular damage caused by conditions like excessive blood glucose and diabetes. Other studies have suggested that cannabidiol may be valuable in treating cardiac arrhythmia and dysfunction, cardiomyopathy, fibrosis, hypertension and oxidative stress.
Concerns have been raised by studies that suggest marijuana use may actually increase the risk of heart attack, but the use of CBD alone for cardiovascular health is not the same; CBD is one chemical element of cannabis while smoking marijuana involves THC and, of course, the inhalation of smoke. Proponents of CBD for cardiovascular health argue that studies specifically on pot smoking are irrelevant to the independent use of isolated cannabidiol (e.g. vaping with CBD oil).
What does this mean for those with cardiovascular issues who might be considering new avenues of treatment? Well, it’s important to note that many of these studies are considered pre-clinical and preliminary and that a lot of research is still needed to confirm the results scientifically. Researchers do not advise stopping the use of any current medication prescribed for heart conditions, and any person considering daily use of CBD should consider a physician’s advice and the legalities of cannabis in his or her state.