Can Marijuana Lower Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure is a common condition, and unfortunately, it’s also linked to many serious health conditions. People frequently find out they have high blood pressure and they may need to take medicine or take other steps to reduce it, and in the process, a common question they have is “can marijuana lower blood pressure.”
The following provides more information about the general topic of blood pressure and also looks at the potential relationship between marijuana and blood pressure.
A blood pressure reading consists of two numbers, one of which is shown on the top and one which is on the bottom. The top is your systolic blood pressure, and it’s the highest level reached as your heart beats. The lower number on a reading is diastolic blood pressure, and it’s the lowest level of your blood pressure achieved when your heart is between beats.
Having high blood pressure can cause weakened or damaged blood vessels because your heart is being strained. The higher your blood pressure, the more you’re at risk for health problems. For example, high blood pressure can lead to heart failure, heart attack, strokes, kidney disease and something called peripheral arterial disease which affects the legs.
If you have high blood pressure combined with other issues like high cholesterol, your risks of developing serious problems are even higher.
Hypertension specifically refers to having prolonged or chronic high blood pressure. Some of the factors that can contribute to high blood pressure and hypertension include stress, kidney disease, diet and being overweight.
If you do have high blood pressure, there are certain lifestyle changes you can make to lower it including eating less salt, having more fruits and vegetables and drinking less alcohol.
So what about marijuana and blood pressure? Can marijuana lower blood pressure, or can it potentially have the opposite effect?
People might think marijuana can lower blood pressure because it relieves stress and anxiety, at least temporarily, but research shows that marijuana doesn’t necessarily lower blood pressure and can, in fact, do quite the opposite.
A study was recently released, and according to the results of that study, marijuana users had three times higher chances of dying from hypertension as compared to non-marijuana users, but the study did have certain limitations.
One of the limitations was the fact that the study defined users as anyone who had used marijuana at any point. This study was also observational in its design, so the researchers were asking questions to participants and then following them over a period of time, so even though there might have been certain information might have been derived from the study, a casual link can’t be established.
Another reason this particular study looking at marijuana and blood pressure had limitations was because of the unregulated nature of marijuana in the U.S. Since marijuana isn’t currently regulated in most of the country, there are many different types and strains, and they can have very different effects on the body.
Despite the possible ineffectiveness of using this study as a way to draw conclusions about marijuana and blood pressure, there is some other research that shows marijuana may have potentially detrimental effects on heart health, and there may be more room to look more specifically at how marijuana and blood pressure can be related to one another.
What about in the short-term? Can marijuana lower blood pressure? What are the different relationships between marijuana and blood pressure in the long-term versus the short-term?
This is another area where there’s likely to be a lot more research, but scientists do currently know that right after consuming marijuana users will typically have an increase in blood pressure and heart rate, and then shortly after that their blood pressure typically decreases.
Over the long-term, there is some research showing that the use of cannabis may help people maintain lower blood pressure levels. One of the possible reasons that marijuana could lower blood pressure is because certain components of the substance may have the ability to relax blood vessels which would promote better blood flow, and therefore lower blood pressure.
Right now it’s difficult to see a complete link between marijuana and blood pressure not only because there’s limited research, but also because of the unregulated use of marijuana, and the combining of marijuana with other substances such as alcohol.
Despite the mixed findings on marijuana and blood pressure, people should never rely on marijuana as a way to lower blood pressure, and they should always speak with their physician about the right steps to take to maintain a healthy blood pressure.
Have more questions about Marijuana abuse?Read the most frequently asked questions
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