Cardiovascular Disease

Can medical marijuana help patients with symptoms of Cardiovascular Disease? Find out more below. 

What is cardiovascular disease?

The risk of cardiovascular disease is high for cigarette smokers and those with high blood pressure, cholesterol, or diabetes. Around 697,000 people in the U.S. suffered from fatal heart disease in 2020. Heart disease is a primary cause of death for a wide range of people. 

Signs & Symptoms

People with heart disease will often experience discomfort, aching, pain, burning, heaviness, pressure, and squeezing in the chest. The primary types of cardiovascular disease are aortic disease, coronary heart disease/coronary artery disease, stroke, peripheral artery disease, congestive heart failure, heart attack, and angina. 

Doctors may recommend treatment for the following heart disease symptoms:

  • Blood vessel disease
  • Dizziness or Fatigue
  • History of adolescent heart issues
  • Heart muscle disease 
  • Heart valve disease
  • Irregular heartbeats 
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart Palpitations 

Causes & Risks

Some factors can increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, including:

  • Older Age 
  • Diabetes or metabolic syndrome
  • Family history/ Genetics
  • High blood pressure (hypertension) 
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Obesity
  • Cigarette Smoking
  • Chronic Stress

Heart Disease Complications include:

  • Angina
  • Aneurysm
  • Heart failure 
  • Heart attack 
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Sudden cardiac arrest
  • Stroke

MMJ & High Blood Pressure

Studies show that occasional users will experience a mild to moderate increase in blood pressure and heart rate shortly after use, followed by a similar blood pressure reduction. Elevated heart rate and blood pressure occur within fifteen minutes of consumption.

So, marijuana’s effect is not significant or long-term; however, the results of cannabis on blood pressure are dose-dependent, and risks can increase with frequent and long-lasting use. More research is needed to know if smoking marijuana poses the same health risks as smoking tobacco. Many patients report that the long-term effects of cannabis help them maintain adequate blood pressure levels. Recent research shows that anandamide, the body’s natural version of THC, relaxes blood vessels, allowing blood to flow more freely to lower blood pressure.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism published a report stating that “endocannabinoids tonically suppress cardiac contractility in hypertension” and “targeting the endocannabinoid system offers novel therapeutic strategies in the treatment of hypertension.”

Cannabinoids are found in the cannabis plant and are produced naturally by our bodies. Humans have an endocannabinoid system that organically produces cannabinoids. These compounds are essential to maintaining internal balance through many different body systems.

Cannabinoids interact with our ECS to help maintain homeostasis through a messenger system of molecules and receptors. Sleep, energy, cardiovascular health, reproduction, stress, chronic pain, motivation, appetite, digestion, and more are some bodily functions that cannabinoids impact.

MMJ & Diabetes

The Texas A&M School of Public Health performed a 2022 data analysis study that examined national survey results from over 15,000 people. They found that female cannabis consumers who consumed substantial amounts of cannabis had a lower incidence of diabetes than females with little to no cannabis use. 

A 2016 trial in Diabetes Care found that THCv could present a new therapeutic option for glycemic control in people with type 2 diabetes. The authors noted that using THCV significantly impacts fasting blood glucose levels and improves pancreatic function. 

A 2013 study of around five-thousand adults found that marijuana use was associated with lower fasting insulin levels, insulin resistance, and smaller waist circumference. Cannabis use acts through the direct and indirect stimulation of cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system. This cell-signaling system modulates the body’s central nervous system and helps maintain homeostasis.

Researchers have also found that CBD lowers resistin levels and increases gastric inhibitory polypeptide that triggers insulin production. Since CBD possesses anti-inflammatory properties may be a vital protective tool for diabetes patients.

Can medical cannabis help with heart disease?

Treatment for heart disease will depend on the severity of artery-clogging, damage or irregularities, and the root cause of your heart issues. When caught early, heart disease can be reversed with lifestyle changes, medications, and surgery. CBD is the most widely researched cannabinoid for potential health benefits. Known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, CBD could benefit people with heart disease. 

A study published in the Journal of Hypertension proved it might be effective as an antihypertensive drug. MMJ patients with heart disease-related high blood pressure may consider trying hemp-based medicine.  Some cannabinoids even produce analgesic and pain-relieving properties that could ease angina-related chest pains related to cardiovascular diseases. 

Last Updated: July 25, 2023

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