What is the number one killer in America?
It’s not guns. It’s not volcanoes or earthquakes. It’s not even cancer! (cancer is actually the number two killer). It’s heart disease.
What is Heart Disease?
Heart disease is a generic term for a number of conditions that negatively affect heart health. It is a wide umbrella that covers everything from congenital heart issues (heart issues people are born with), arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat), diseases with the blood vessels in the heart, and high blood pressure. High blood pressure affects almost a third of all American adults, with over 100 MILLION people estimated to have high blood pressure.1 Blood pressure is the pressure that blood exerts on the arteries and valves in your heart, and high blood pressure is the cause for a ton of heart issues, from heart attacks to strokes to diseased blood vessels. Obviously not every heart condition is caused by high blood pressure, but high blood pressure is the leading cause of heart disease, and high blood pressure can make other heart issues more severe.
Medications & Side-effects
Heart disease is so broad that there are hundreds of different medications, with different types of medication having different effects on the heart. Each of these types of drugs come with their own side effects. Diuretics are a type of drug that reduces sodium in the body, which helps lower blood pressure. Diuretics, in the process of reducing sodium, also frequently reduce potassium which can lead to fatigue and severe cramping.2 Beta-blockers reduce the rate of heart pumping, which is great for health. Just hope you don’t mind fatigue, bursts of dizziness and nausea, or severe diarrhea! Ace inhibitors decrease the production of a protein that causes blood vessels to narrow, which in turn decreases blood pressure. Just hope you don’t mind the coughing or headaches, or the loss of taste.[3,4]
Blood Pressure & CBD
Blood pressure is a dynamic metric, which means it changes over time. Blood pressure will increase when your body is stressed in some way, and similarly, it can change if you go from a sitting position to standing position. This makes the next thing I’m about to say very, very cool (and important): in a study of nine volunteers, a single dose of CBD was found to reduce resting blood pressure, as well as keep blood pressure lower after a series of different stress tests. The volunteers endured extreme cold, exercised for long periods of time, and were taxed mentally. The volunteers given a single 600mg dose of CBD had lower blood pressure at rest, and after the different stress tests the volunteers treated with CBD had lower blood pressure than those who were given a placebo.5
It’s important to understand that, while there were great results in this study, there were only nine volunteers and they were deemed to be healthy before the study began. Nine people is not a lot, and nine healthy men is not an accurate sampling for over a hundred million Americans. The conclusion to be had is that CBD has shown promise as a healthier alternative to current blood pressure medications, and should be studied further.
-- Jacob Greenberg
- (2018). More than 100 million Americans have high blood pressure, AHA says. American Heart Association News, retrieved from https://www.heart.org/en/news/2018/05/01/more-than-100-million-americans-have-high-blood-pressure-aha-says.
- Marks, L. (2015, 11/25). What Are Beta Blockers? Everyday Health, retrieved from https://www.everydayhealth.com/beta-blockers/guide/.
3,4. Morelli, J. High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Medications. RxList, retrieved from https://www.rxlist.com/high_blood_pressure_hypertension_medications/drugs-condition.htm.
- Jadoon, Khalid A, et al. “A Single Dose of Cannabidiol Reduces Blood Pressure in Healthy Volunteers in a Randomized Crossover Study.” JCI Insight, American Society for Clinical Investigation, 15 June 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5470879/.