High Blood Pressure

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Cannabis and CBD for High Blood Pressure 

Blood pressure is an indicator of blood force pushing against the walls of the blood vessel. The heart pumps blood into the blood vessels that bring blood all over the body. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is dangerous because it makes it harder for the heart to pump blood to the body and leads to atherosclerosis, stroke, kidney disease, and heart failure.

What is High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure or also known as hypertension comes with an increase from blood pressure to unhealthy levels. The calculation of blood pressure takes account of how much blood flows through your blood vessels and how much blood resistance rises as your heart pumps. Narrow arteries improve resistance. The thinner your arteries, the higher the blood pressure will be. Increased pressure, like heart disease, can cause health problems over the long term.

Hypertension is a common occurrence. In addition, since the recommendations have changed recently, it is estimated that this disease will now be reported to nearly half of American adults. Usually, hypertension progresses over several years. You don’t normally notice any symptoms. But even without symptoms, high blood pressure can damage your blood vessels and organs, particularly your brain, heart, eyes, and kidneys.

Early detection is important. Regular blood pressure readings can help you and your doctor notice any changes. If your blood pressure is increased, your doctor may need to check your blood pressure for a couple of weeks to see if your blood pressure remains high or falls back to normal levels. Hypertension treatment includes both prescription and healthy lifestyle changes. If the condition is not treated, it could lead to health problems, including heart attack and stroke.

A measurement of blood pressure is written as follows: 120/80. The top number is called the systolic number, and the bottom number is called the diastolic number. The definition is as follows:

  • Normal: Less than 120 over 80 (120/80)
  • Elevated: 120-129/less than 80
  • Stage 1 high blood pressure: 130-139/80-89
  • Stage 2 high blood pressure: 140 and above/90 and above
  • Hypertension crisis: higher than 180/higher than 120 — See a doctor right away

Many people with high blood pressure are “salt-sensitive” meaning that nothing more is too much for them than the normal body need for salt and raises their blood pressure. Certain factors that may increase the risk of critical hypertension include obesity; diabetes; stress; inadequate potassium, calcium, and magnesium intake; lack of physical activity; and chronic alcohol intake.

Symptoms of High Blood Pressure

In general, hypertension is a silent condition. There will be no symptoms for many people. The condition may take years or even decades to reach levels that are severe enough for the symptoms to become apparent. Even then, other issues can be attributed to these symptoms.

Symptoms of severe hypertension can include:

  • Headaches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nosebleeds
  • Flushing
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Visual changes
  • Blood in the urine

Such signs require medical attention immediately. These do not occur in everyone with hypertension, but it could be dangerous to wait for the start of a symptom of this disease. If you have hypertension, the best way to know is to get regular readings of blood pressure. At each appointment, most doctors ‘ offices take a reading of blood pressure. Talk to your doctor about your risks for hypertension and other tests that you may need to help you control your blood pressure if you only have an annual physical.

For instance, if you have a family history of cardiac disease or risk factors for developing the condition, your doctor may recommend that you check your blood pressure twice a year. It lets you and your doctor stay on top of any issues before they get into trouble.

Causes of High Blood Pressure

The exact causes of high blood pressure are not known, but several things may play a role, including:

  • Smoking
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Too much salt in the diet
  • Too much alcohol consumption (more than 1 to 2 drinks per day)
  • Stress
  • Older age
  • Genetics
  • Family history of high blood pressure
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Adrenal and thyroid disorders
  • Sleep apnea

Primary hypertension is also referred to as essential hypertension. This type of hypertension develops over time with no identifiable cause. Most people have this type of high blood pressure. Researchers are still unaware of the mechanisms that cause blood pressure to rise slowly. A combination of factors may have a role to play. These factors shall include:

  • Genes: Many people are genetically predisposed to hypertension, which can be inherited from your parents due to gene mutations or genetic abnormalities.
  • Physical changes: If something shifts in your body, you can begin to experience problems all over your body. One of those problems may be high blood pressure. It’s assumed, for example, that changes in your kidney function due to aging can disrupt the body’s natural salt and fluid balance. This change can cause the blood pressure of your body to rise.
  • Environment: Unhealthy lifestyle choices such as lack of physical activity and poor diet will take their toll on your body over time. Choices in lifestyle can lead to weight issues. If you are overweight or obese, your risk of hypertension may increase.

Secondary Hypertension: The condition is characterized as secondary hypertension when a direct cause of high blood pressure can be identified. Kidney disease ranks highest among the known causes of secondary hypertension. Hypertension may also be caused by tumors or other disorders that cause the adrenal glands (small glands on the top of the kidneys) to secrete excess hormone levels that increase blood pressure. Pills that regulate birth — particularly those with estrogen — can improve blood pressure and enhance pregnancy, as can blood vessel restriction medications.

Who Is More Likely to Develop High Blood Pressure?

  • People with family members who have high blood pressure
  • People who are overweight or obese
  • Smokers
  • African-Americans
  • Pregnant women
  • People who are not active
  • People who have sleep apnea
  • People who eat too many fatty foods or foods with too much salt
  • Women who take birth control pills
  • People over the age of 35
  • People who drink alcohol excessively

How Cannabis Can Help Relieve the Symptoms of High Blood Pressure

Several people wonder if marijuana can have a serious impact on blood pressure, such as drinking and smoking cigarettes because other lifestyle choices can influence blood pressure. When someone first consumes marijuana, they often experience a moderate increase in blood pressure and heart rate, followed by a decrease in blood pressure following that initial peak.

Conflicting research has also shown that marijuana is associated with some long-term cardiovascular risks, including increased blood pressure. In a study published in 2016, a small increase in systolic blood pressure was found in those who used marijuana within the previous 30 days compared to those who had never used marijuana, using data from more than 12,000 people over a period of 7 years. This analysis, with more controlled conditions, highlights the need for further research in this area.

When addressing marijuana and high blood pressure, there are a few other factors to consider. The first is that if you use marijuana, it can increase your appetite and lead you to poor dietary choices, so it can have an indirect effect on blood pressure. Additionally, if you smoke marijuana rather than consuming it in other ways, it can be detrimental to your cardiovascular health just as smoking cigarettes are.

So, does marijuana cause high blood pressure? Probably not, but not enough research on the subject is published at this time to give a definitive answer.

Medical Cannabis Treatment for High Blood Pressure

The endocannabinoid system of the body plays an important role in cardiovascular regulation and high blood pressure. Endocannabinoids naturally produced by the body interact with the body and the brain control system that governs many of the body’s functions. Cannabinoids, Medical Marijuana elements, mimic the endocannabinoids of the body that are closely involved in the regulation of the cardiovascular system. Several studies report that cannabinoids such as THC and CBD function by normalizing the pumping activity of the heart by relaxing muscles and tissues that are excessively stressed, allowing blood to flow more freely and more naturally.  Such fundamental findings provide a solid scientific foundation for high blood pressure and other cardiovascular conditions treatment of Medical Cannabis.

Dr. Schiffrin, Canada Research Chair and Director of the Hypertension and Vascular Research said that, the endothelium (blood vessel lining) produces a variety of substances that play important roles in the regulation of the circulation and vascular wall homeostasis (stability). The control of blood vessel wall homeostasis is achieved via the production of vasorelaxation (relaxants) and vasoconstrictors (constriction). Relaxants include and endocannabinoids.

Nevertheless, it is still important to consult a licensed marijuana doctor before taking medical cannabis as a cure for your hypertension, after all the research. Although medicinal cannabis works for many, for all those with hypertension, strains high in THC should not be indicated.

Personalized Cannabis Consultations

Whether you are new to cannabis and need to learn the basics, or are simply trying to achieve more positive cannabis experiences, Veriheal’s coaches are here to help. You have the opportunity to become informed about this wonderful plant. Book an appointment today with one of our compassionate coaches to have a private discussion about your cannabis journey.

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Data Last Updated 03/16/2020