Medical Marijuana For High Blood Pressure
Hypertension is quickly becoming one of the world’s most prevalent lifestyle diseases. In the US alone, you have one in three adults suffering from high blood pressure, also called Hypertension.
If left untreated high blood pressure has the ability to metamorphose into cardiovascular disease.
Cardiovascular disease is characterized by a higher risk of stroke, heart attack, and even increased chances of heart failure.
What is Normal?
Normal blood pressure is usually written 120/80.
Blood pressure is measured by the amount of blood that your heart pumps and the amount of resistance that your arteries put up against the blood flow. This is all a numbers game, the more blood that you pump, the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure.
The weird thing with blood pressure is that it can go undetected for years and years without showing any symptoms. The moment your symptoms start showing up, consider that to be the worst-case scenario as that is when you know damage to your blood vessels and heart has begun.
The good news here is that blood pressure, even if it is showing no symptoms, is easily detectable. All you have to do is take your blood pressure and voila, you will know.
Blood pressure is categorized into five stages
- Normal: 120/180
- Elevated:120-129/less than 80
- Stage 1: 130-139/80-89
- Stage 2:140 and above/90 and above
- Crisis Stage: Higher than 180/Higher than 120
Reasons For Hypertension
The exact causes of Hypertension are mostly unknown, as typically, there is a combination of factors that play a role in causing high blood pressure.
Some of the contributing factors to Hypertension are :
Not only does smoking raise your blood pressure on a temporary basis, but there is also the issue of the chemicals present in tobacco, damaging the lining on the artery walls.
Arteries end up becoming narrower, and that increases the chances of heart disease. You don’t even have to smoke; second-hand smoke is deemed to be just as harmful.
Lack of Exercise
People who have a history of inactivity develop higher heart rates. An elevated heart rate forces your heart to work twice as hard with every contraction leading to a stronger force being put on your heart.
Being Overweight or Obese
Your weight directly impacts the amount of blood required to supply oxygen and nutrients to your body. As your body increases the amount of blood flowing through your veins, the amount of pressure on your arteries increases too.
High-stress levels are one of the leading causes of Hypertension. In the bid to relax people either begin to eat more, or have a cigarette or drink alcohol. Each one of those things only ends up making the situation worse.
Overconsumption of Salt
Too much salt consumption leads to your body retaining fluid, which increases the blood pressure.
Overconsumption of Alcohol
Heavy drinking leads to heart damage. This is directly linked to blood pressure issues.
As you keep aging, your chances of developing high blood pressure increase. Somewhere around 64, a spike in blood pressure is seen in men and in women at around 65.
High blood pressure beyond just being a lifestyle issue can even be passed in families.
Chronic problems are known to wreak havoc in the body when it comes to their far-reaching effects. Problems like kidney disease and sleep apnea increase the chances of developing high blood pressure.
Though it is a problem generally seen in adults, there are some cases in which children develop high blood pressure. For a large population, poor lifestyle choices coupled with unhealthy dietary habits and lack of exercise lead to high blood pressure.
Thanks to the waves of legalization that have taken place, cannabis is quickly cementing its way in the medical world. Though you will still see a heated debate around how effective and good marijuana is to treat chronic diseases.
Recreational or medical, there is not much of a difference between the cannabis sold for either purpose. But as medical usage has dramatically grown over the past couple of years, new strains are being developed, keeping in mind the patients.
Cannabis Effects on the Body
Cannabis has over 80 chemical compounds called cannabinoids. Out of the various compounds, research has been carried out on two compounds primarily. You have CBD ( cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), both of which were discovered in the 1960s.
Lets further understand what kind of impact is created by these compounds in relation to medical marijuana.
As the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, it is one of the most researched topics in the list of different compounds. THC is believed to the cause of many effects on the body these effects include;
- Change In Body Temperature
- Change in Pulse Rate
- Warped Perception of Time
- Analgesia(Reduction in Perception Of Pain)
- Spatial Awareness
- Short Term Memory
If THC is euphoria, CBD is pure relaxation. In comparison to THC, you would need about 100 times the amount of CBD to generate any impact on the cannabinoid receptors. The body has proven to have natural pain relief and anti-inflammatory properties.
How Cannabis Works
Cannabis works by making its cannabinoid interact with the human endocannabinoid system.
Our body makes its own cannabinoids called endocannabinoids. They perform functions concerning homeostasis.
Cannabis cannabinoids have the ability to mimic the actions of anandamide, a neurotransmitter responsible for activating cannabinoid receptors. This implies that cannabis then binds with cannabinoid receptors that activate neurons that, in turn, might end up causing the effects on the body.
Cannabis and Hypertension: A Relation or a Cure?
Cannabis has multiple uses in the medical arena, and it is only natural to wonder if there is a way that cannabis helps patients of Hypertension as well.
There is a paradox that exists in the case of people smoking marijuana for Hypertension, and that is when you first smoke marijuana, your blood pressure initially spikes. But beyond that, there is a decrease.
This initial spike over time ceases to exist, but the point here remains how much of a spike is too much of a spike, and is it worth it.
Marijuana is slowly transforming into a complete lifestyle instead of just a hobby or habit.
The problem that most of us run into when it is to try and answer these questions definitively is that research around cannabis is in its preliminary stages. So, definitive answers are difficult to come by.
What Are The Studies Saying?
There have been a couple of studies around Hypertension and marijuana, but mostly it has been on rats. So, that is another issue. Another one has a slight methodology issue with it.
Again, it is a slightly bumpy road ahead.
We will cover the Methodology issue first.
The study released was observational in nature, so there was no control in the patient pool that was selected to perform in it. The other issue with the study was that people were not categorized on the basis of being a regular or occasional smoker. Instead, anyone who has even touched marijuana with their pinky was considered to be a smoker.
The other research, the one on rats, concluded that the rats with already existing high blood pressure were the only ones affected by marijuana, the ones who had normal blood pressure were just fine.
This happened because when you have high blood pressure, you are looking at an increased number of CB1 receptors, the same kind that is responsible for your sensitivity to marijuana.
It did, however, manage to lower blood pressure in rats by decreasing the force with which the blood was being pumped by their hearts. Reducing this leads to lowered blood pressure and relaxed blood vessels.
In this study, it was concluded that marijuana did help in decreasing blood pressure.
Ways of Consumption Marijuana
If you are looking to decrease your blood pressure, then an excellent way to achieve it would be to consume via methods that aren’t smoking. As smoke does make blood pressure worse.
The first option is the beloved edible; this is great as no longer do you have to eat brownies that taste like grass. You now have the option of a variety of cannabis-infused delicacies that can be injected discretely and at the same time, are really tasty.
Although they have been around since 2001, they have been gaining visibility just recently.
They work in the same way nicotine or birth control patches work. All the medication that you could possibly require is fit into a small patch that is released into your bloodstream.
The best part about patches is that they are subtle and come in a variety of combinations.
Pills & Supplements
If popping pills is where your comfort zone lies, then this is what you should select as your form of consumption.
The issue with these pills is that same as anything else that is wrong with pills; the time is taken to metabolize. There is variation in everyone’s metabolizing mechanism.
So, this method could take anywhere from 45 minutes to 3 hours for the effects to show up.
This is considered to be the most user-friendly method of consuming cannabis.
Perfect for exact dosing, all you have to do us take a couple of drops and place it under your tongue and watch the action take effect.
It is usually made with 90% pure alcohol, so if you have an aversion, that could be an issue.
The Best Strains For Hypertension
If you have decided to use cannabis to lower your blood pressure, there are a couple of strains that you should pick up.
Remember, you are not picking up a cure, but instead, you are trying to manage your disease.
A pure Indica strain, this is one of the untouched native strains that exist on the market. With a THC content of 20 %, it will definitely take the edge off and help lower your blood pressure.
A Sativa dominant strain, this one picked up recognition sometime in 2015 and has been around since then. With a THC content of anywhere from 15-25 %, you know you’re in for a ride. The initial effects of this strain are in the brain, but before you know it, your body starts relaxing too.
Black Larry Bird
This extremely potent strain is a cross between gelato #33 and a Black domina. IT is advised you only indulge in this strain if you plan to stay at home.
Blame or Thank Snoop Dogg for this one. Earlier called Cush, it was rebranded by Snoop Dogg for his line, and the rest is history. With a THC content of 16 %, you don’t want to be taking this one at night.
Super Sour Diesel
This is the child of sour diesel and super silver haze, both of which, even on their own, are pretty good. With a potency of 20% THC, you will be swimming in calm waters before long.
Getting Legal Access to Medical Marijuana
There are about 33 states which for sure allow consumption of medical marijuana. But there is a catch, for buying products from a dispensary you need a doctor’s recommendation.
A doctor’s recommendation is available only available if you are suffering from one of the conditions listed in the MMJ qualifying conditions of your state.
If you are not the most comfortable while going out and picking up a recommendation, worry not, we have you covered. You can now just as easily get an MMJ card online.
Just go online, fill up our questionnaire, talk to a doctor and voila you have a card.
Is Hypertension Treatable By Cannabis?
The truth is nobody really knows; there are studies which say one thing and some others something else.
You, along with your doctor, need to figure out the most viable option for yourself, as that is the only way you will be able to manage the symptoms. Do remember that marijuana is not a cure for managing your blood pressure, sure, but from a cure perspective, it will not be helping you.
Till the time we get the answers from studies with conclusive results, we are going to all be right here wondering.