High blood pressure (which is called hypertension) is a very common problem in the UK. According to the UK government’s website, more than 1 in 4 adults in the UK suffer from high blood pressure. Men are slightly more likely than women to develop it. On this page I look at some of the reasons for hypertension, the symptoms, and some of the other medical problems it can cause. I also look at the evidence that suggests CBD can help reduce blood pressure.
Causes and Possible Effects of High Blood Pressure
There are several factors that can make you more likely to get hypertension. Some of them, such as getting older or being (born) male, you can’t really do anything about. (Both men and women
can develop high blood pressure, but men have a greater chance.) But there are a number of lifestyle choices that you can make to keep yourself healthier and do your best to avoid hypertension. For example, if you have too much salt in your food, your body tends to retain water. The extra water means that there will be more liquid in your blood vessels. So your heart has to work harder to pump the blood around your body. By cutting down on salt, you can help your heart and reduce your risk of hypertension.
Drinking too much alcohol can cause hypertension. Scientists are not sure exactly how this happens, but it seems likely that alcohol:
- causes narrowing of your arteries by affecting the walls of the vessels
- increases the amount of cortisol in the blood, which increases blood pressure
- affects the ability of pressure controls in the body to keep your blood pressure correct
You can reduce your chances of getting hypertension by drinking less alcohol.
Being severely overweight can lead to hypertension. For example, people who are very overweight may develop problems with their kidneys. This can cause an increase in blood pressure. Another way that obesity can lead to hypertension is by the increase of a hormone called leptin, which can raise blood pressure. The more fat you have in your body, the more of this chemical your body will produce. So by keeping your body at a healthy weight you can reduce the risk of developing hypertension.
Illnesses Caused by Hypertension
High blood pressure puts a strain on the heart. This means that people who suffer from hypertension are more likely to have heart attacks or heart failure. High blood pressure also puts a strain on your eyes, which can lead to loss of vision. Other medical problems associated with hypertension include angina, strokes, vascular dementia and chronic kidney disease.
Studies on How CBD May Help with Hypertension
According to the British Heart Foundation, inflammation plays a part in the development of high blood pressure. And it’s now well accepted that CBD can reduce inflammation. CBD is also well-known for its calming effects. It can help you to cope with stressful situations, by regulating the levels of stress hormones and increasing the amount of calming hormones. Stress makes your heart beat faster and also increases the production of adrenaline. As both of these effects can increase blood pressure, it’s very likely that taking CBD will have a positive effect on hypertension.
Laboratory studies on mice and rats have indicated that CBD may help to protect the heart from damage. The results showed that the animals that were given Cannabidiol were less likely to suffer severe damage to their hearts from diabetes or heart failure. And in a study of nine healthy volunteers, results indicated that CBD can reduce blood pressure in humans too. Those who took CBD had generally lower blood pressure and their blood pressure did not increase as much during stress. The combination of studies on animals and humans show us how CBD may help with hypertension and related medical problems.