High blood pressure is a common condition that many people have and is associated with many serious conditions. Lifestyle changes can help reduce blood pressure, but what about the relationship between marijuana and high blood pressure? Does marijuana cause high blood pressure, or can it help?

What Is High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure is also referred to as hypertension, and this is a condition in which the force of blood pressing against the walls of your arteries is higher than what it should be. When someone has high blood pressure, it means there is too much pressure against their artery walls; people with hypertension experience chronically elevated blood pressure. Nearly half of U.S. adults have hypertension, and only 1 in 4 of those adults have their hypertension under control.

he problem with high blood pressure is that when it’s left untreated, it can lead to serious health problems. When blood is pressing too hard on artery walls, it can cause blood vessel damage, which contributes to cardiovascular disease. It can also damage the organs.

Stroke, heart attack and heart failure are all possible deadly complications of high blood pressure. Other complications of high blood pressure can include an aneurysm, kidney disease, metabolic syndrome and blood clots.

How Marijuana Affects Blood Pressure

People frequently wonder, does marijuana cause high blood pressure? Many lifestyle choices can have a significant impact on blood pressure, like drinking and smoking cigarettes, so it’s normal to have this question.

When it comes to marijuana and high blood pressure, some differences exist between the short term and the long term. When people first consume marijuana, they will often experience a moderate increase in both blood pressure and heart rate. Then, following that initial spike, they will have a decrease in blood pressure.

Once someone has a tolerance to marijuana after using it for a period of time, they often don’t experience the spike in blood pressure at all after consumption. Instead, long-term marijuana users may have reduced blood pressure. Anecdotal evidence shows that some people use marijuana to help them keep their blood pressure at a healthy level.

There are also indirect ways marijuana use can affect blood pressure. For example, marijuana use may increase your appetite and lead you to make poor dietary choices.  A poor diet can lead to being overweight or obese, which is a risk factor for high blood pressure. 

While research has been conducted to validate the short-term cardiovascular effects of marijuana use, research into the long-term effects is limited. One often-cited study published in the American Journal of Cardiology was able to find a small association between marijuana use and systolic blood pressure over time. This association disappeared when they accounted for their participants’ heavier alcohol use. Since it was an observational study, they could not control for other substance use and pinpoint where the blood pressure change had come from. 

Summing Up — Does Marijuana Cause High Blood Pressure?

It’s not currently believed that marijuana causes chronically high blood pressure or hypertension, despite its short-term effects on blood pressure. However, there’s still a significant lack of research that needs to be done.

Marijuana may raise blood pressure briefly right after it’s used, but it is generally temporary. While some people may believe marijuana helps them maintain healthy blood pressure levels, this claim is primarily anecdotal and not supported by research-based evidence. 

No matter what you think about marijuana and high blood pressure, you should always follow your physician’s instructions. Don’t attempt to self-medicate with marijuana use, and always take any prescribed medicines as instructed by your doctor. High blood pressure can be an extremely serious situation, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village® aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.