Cannabinoid Tension Tamers

Cannabinoid Tension Tamers

Understanding Hypertension and Its Impact

A silent and sneaky killer impacting millions globally, often goes unnoticed until it’s too late. Nearly half of people with hypertension are unaware of their condition.  This common, yet devastating prognosis leads to stroke, heart attack, heart failure, cardiomegaly, kidney damage (nephropathy) and the leading cause of preventable blindness (retinopathy), as well as many other health problems.  “Hypertension (HT) affects 1 in 3 adults worldwide. The number of people living with hypertension (blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or higher) or taking medication for hypertension doubled between 1990 and 2019, from 650 million to 1.3 billion,” and at this stage, “if countries can scale up coverage, 76 million deaths could be averted between 2023 and 2050.”  Stress and HT can be prevented with affordable, safe, accessible medicines and other interventions, such as sodium reduction, CBD supplements and upholding a healthy lifestyle.

Monitoring Blood Pressure

Disabled U.S. Veterans can request a blood pressure monitor from the V.A. and others can easily find affordable models on the web. It’s important to monitor BP in order to prevent HT from developing.

Understanding Blood Pressure Readings

  • Systolic blood pressure (the first number) – indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when the heart contracts.
  • Diastolic blood pressure (the second number) – indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls while the heart muscle is resting between contractions.

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Blood Pressure Categories 

The five blood pressure ranges as recognized by the American Heart Association are:

Normal

  • Blood pressure numbers of less than 120/80 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury) are considered within the normal range. If your results fall into this category, stick with heart-healthy habits like following a balanced diet and getting regular exercise.

Elevated

  • Elevated blood pressure is when readings consistently range from 120-129 systolic and less than 80 mm Hg diastolic. People with elevated blood pressure are likely to develop high blood pressure unless steps are taken to control the condition.

Hypertension Stage 1

  • Hypertension Stage 1 is when blood pressure consistently ranges from 130 to 139 systolic or 80 to 89 mm Hg diastolic. At this stage of high blood pressure, health care professionals are likely to prescribe lifestyle changes and may consider adding blood pressure medication based on your risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, or ASCVD, such as heart attack or stroke.

Hypertension Stage 2

  • Hypertension Stage 2 is when blood pressure consistently is 140/90 mm Hg or higher. At this stage of high blood pressure, health care professionals are likely to prescribe a combination of blood pressure medications and lifestyle changes.

Hypertensive crisis

  • This stage of high blood pressure requires medical attention. If your blood pressure readings suddenly exceed 180/120 mm Hg, wait five minutes and then test your blood pressure again. If your readings are still unusually high, contact your health care professional immediately. You could be experiencing a hypertensive crisis.

The Role of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) in Hypertension

A master regulator of bodily functions, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a unique system in the body and, “there is emerging evidence suggesting that the endocannabinergic system plays an important role in the cardiovascular regulation in hypertension.”  Based on an article in Neuropharmacology, the endocannabinoid system and its receptors work within the central nervous system (CNS) in regulating, pathophysiological conditions associated with excessive hypotension as well as hypertension. The endocannabinoid system regulates overall homeostasis. It plays a vital role in the cardiovascular management of hypertension and “apart from their well-known neurobehavioral and immunological actions, cannabinoids also elicit potent cardiovascular effects, such as profound hypotension,” (low blood pressure).

 

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Potential of Cannabinoids in Managing Hypertension

“The possible antihypertensive potential of cannabinoids has reemerged as a result of findings demonstrating their greater hypotensive efficacy in hypertensive…animals and recent evidence for the tonic activation of the ECS in various experimental models of hypertension as a possible compensatory mechanism.”  In fact, CBD may reduce heart rate, blood pressure and improve blood flow.

Conflicting Research on Cannabinoids and Cardiovascular Function

“To date, research on the effects of cannabinoid compounds on cardiovascular function is conflicting, with some studies showing cardio-protection and others showing adverse cardiovascular outcomes. These disparate findings may reflect differences in cannabinoids and the models used, mode of administration, or effects on cannabinoid versus other receptors in the periphery and central nervous system. Our finding that CBG lowers blood pressure is consistent with reports that: synthetic cannabinoids including Δ9-THC may decrease blood pressure; CBD causes vasorelaxation in human mesenteric arteries and lowers blood pressure in hypertensive rats; and the sympathetic nervous appears to play a role in the cardiovascular depression effects of endocannabinoids.”

Common Medications for Hypertension

Some of the most commonly prescribed medications for hypertension (HT) include:

  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  • Angiotensin receptor blockers
  • Beta-blockers and alpha-blockers
  • Calcium-channel blockers
  • Central agonists
  • Diuretics (thiazides, chlorthalidone, indapamide)
  • Peripheral adrenergic inhibitor
  • Vasodilators

Cannabinoids as Potential Antihypertensive Medication

Cannabinoids could potentially serve as antihypertensive medication. A study of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and CBD for cardiovascular diseases proved that its effects on the ECS “may reduce the impact of increased blood pressure in hypertension cases by acting as an inhibitor of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) – the essential enzyme responsible for breaking down the endocannabinoid anandamide (AEA). FAAH inhibition happens to be a known feature of many cannabinoids like CBD, CBG, and CBGA.”

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