A person dies every three minutes from heart and circulatory disease in the UK - that's more than 160,000 deaths every year¹. Research is taking place right now into lifesaving treatment that could prevent these conditions. One of the possible therapies being considered is CBD oil, but what exactly is the link between CBD and heart health?
CBD oil - what is it, and how does it work?
Cannabidiol (referred to as CBD) is one of over a hundred organic compounds found in the cannabis plant. Considered safe by the World Health Organisation, CBD is popping up in everything from edibles to bath bombs and skincare.
But there's a more serious side to this chemical, that involves its health benefits.
Experts think that CBD oil could be a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant, which is promising news for researchers looking at heart and circulatory disease.
CBD works by interacting with the body's endocannabinoid system - a series of receptors that maintains your internal homeostasis (chemical balance). It plays a part in regulating key functions, like your immune system, mood, sleep, and appetite.
It's already used by the NHS in the UK to treat medical conditions like epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and sickness in cancer patients. Medical science is now starting to wake up to the health benefits offered by CBD oil, but there is still research to be done.
Three ways CBD could improve heart health
Inflammation is a known risk factor in high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, and stroke. The possible anti-inflammatory benefits of CBD oil could reduce this risk.
1. Reducing blood pressure
High blood pressure (hypertension) can lead to chest pain, a stroke, or even a heart attack, but CBD oil may be able to help. A 2017 study in nine healthy men found that a 600mg dose of cannabidiol reduced blood pressure both under stress and at rest².
Some researchers think that the positive effects of CBD could also reduce cortisol (a stress hormone) in the body and contribute to lower blood pressure.
2. Treating a stroke
There is some evidence that CBD has a vasodilatory effect (dilates blood vessels) and could improve blood flow. This could help treat patients who have suffered an ischaemic stroke, which occurs when a blood clot stops the flow of blood to the brain.
Researchers are interested in how CBD oil can help stroke patients recover. A 2007 study in rats, that had suffered a heart attack or stroke, found that those given CBD oil had 66% less dead tissue in their body after a week³.
3. Heart palpitations
Heart palpitations can be caused by an array of things from hormone changes to stress and underlying medical conditions, like a heart arrhythmia (irregular heart beat).
CBD may be able to help with heart arrhythmias, but another interesting link here is with stress and anxiety. Some experts believe that cannabidiol can improve stress levels and reduce anxiety, so using CBD for heart palpitations could soon become a reality.
Other ways to maintain a healthy heart
CBD oil works best when it's combined with a healthy lifestyle. Making a few changes can significantly improve the health of your heart and cardiovascular system:
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a well-balanced diet, rich in fruit and vegetables
- Cut back on your sodium intake
- Reduce stress
- Drink less alcohol and caffeine
- Lose weight (if needed)
- Stop smoking
If you suffer from a cardiovascular condition or heart failure, speak to your doctor about how to safely introduce CBD oil into your existing treatment plan.
How to use CBD oil and where to buy it
CBD products are widely available on the high street and online, but before you buy, make sure that the retailer you've chosen has the right credentials.
A good CBD supplier should be able to prove that the cannabidiol they are using has come from high-grade organic hemp and is free from pesticides. At Origin40, we only use manufacturers who can authenticate the source of their products.
Cannabidiol is available in a wide range of products, but perhaps the most popular are oils and tinctures. With a built-in pipette, oils are easy to take on-the-go and a great place to start, if you are just beginning your CBD journey.
There is no standard dose of CBD, it's simply what works for you. We recommend starting low and going slow - this means building up your dosage every day, until you feel comfortable with the amount you're taking (known as microdosing).
We suggest starting with one droplet under your tongue in the morning and one at night. Do this for three days, then increase your dose to two drops twice a day, then three, and so on, until you find your 'sweet spot' - the dose that's most effective.
CBD oil is well tolerated by most people with few reported side effects. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (a similar compound found in marijuana), CBD has no psychoactive properties and is not addictive.
The key takeaway
Early research and clinical studies suggest that CBD could be used to reduce the risk of cardiovascular and heart conditions.
The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD may be able to treat high blood pressure and even aid the recovery of stroke patients.
CBD is also thought to affect the stress hormone, cortisol, which is another possible contributor to lowering blood pressure and heart rate.
Pioneering research is ongoing into how CBD can be used to prevent heart disease, but it's clear that there is a lot of potential.
- British Heart Foundation [online] Facts and figures [updated: July 2021; cited 11 Sept 2021] Available from: https://bit.ly/3EcBsfF
- Chesak, Jennifer, Healthline [online] CBD for heart disease: benefits, side effects, and treatments [updated 18 Feb 2020; cited 11 Sept 2021] Available from: https://bit.ly/3lgl0lQ
- Wentley, Suzanne, American Spa [online] Three ways CBD can support a healthy heart [updated 29 Jan 2019; cited 11 Sept 2021] Available from: https://bit.ly/3934DmM