High blood pressure is a serious condition. It increases the risk of heart problems, stroke, and kidney disease. Often, people don’t know they have high blood pressure unless they monitor. And unfortunately, contrary to memes on the internet, there is no good evidence that people can treat high blood pressure just with CBD.
One article that is making the rounds on Facebook is titled “New Study Proves CBD Reduces Blood Pressure After Just One Dose.” This article points to a small study (only 9 adults) that found that a very large dose of cannabidiol (600 mg) lowered blood pressure a small amount (5-6 points).
First, a 5 or 6 point drop in blood pressure is not very large, and it may not be clinically significant. If a person has consistent blood pressure readings of 145 or 150, they will still have a blood pressure problem if they take CBD. A person with slightly elevated blood pressure of 125 might get their numbers perfect with CBD, but cannabidiol is not very powerful when it comes to lowering blood pressure according to this research.
Second, 600 milligrams is a large dose. Most people take CBD doses on the order of 5 to 25 mg a day. Bottles of CBD oil are commonly labeled according to the total amount of CBD they contain – 250, 500, 1000, etc. A person would have to take 2 entire bottles marked 250, plus some. Not practical.
Third, that is an expensive dose. In the 2018 market, many people are paying 10 cents or more per milligram for CBD. That would put a daily dose around $60! At the same time, many health plans or pharmacies are filling high blood pressure medicines at no cost to the patient – the cost of most blood pressure drugs is low, and the preventive value is very high, so they literally give it away to encourage people to be healthier.
Maybe with repetitive doses, it would take less than 600 mg CBD per day to get results. Maybe a subset of patients have their elevated blood pressure driven by anxiety, and those people might benefit more than 5 or 6 points. But we don’t know yet.
If people have only moderately elevated blood pressure and no other risk factors, they might have time to experiment a bit… but they have monitor and record their blood pressure, and if CBD doesn’t work, they need do something else. If the blood pressure is more than a little high, or if a person has other risk factors, it is best to control the bp as soon as possible.
There are many natural ways to lower blood pressure. Exercising, losing weight, cutting sodium, eating better (more magnesium and potassium, especially) are all good approaches and part of a healthy lifestyle. Trying these first makes sense, and many people can reach their target blood pressure just by using these. But monitor to see the changes, and if your plan is not working, find one that does. Put your health above theory and ideology.
There is some evidence that psychoactive THC might lower blood pressure with daily use, but in the short term, it raises blood pressure (sounds like exercise?). There is also something called ‘abnormal CBD’ that does lower blood pressure more than CBD, but abnormal CBD is an isomer of CBD that is not naturally occurring in any strain of Cannabis – it is a lab product.