New research suggests that taking a single dose of cannabidiol (CBD) oil can lower blood pressure before and after a stressful situation. Cannabidiol (CBD) is extracted from the flowers, leaves and stems of industrial hemp plants. These hemp plants are the same species as the Cannabis sativa plants from which marijuana is derived, but are a different strain that does not contain significant levels of the psychoactive substance, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
Cannabidiol (CBD) is not psychoactive, not addictive, and does not produce a ‘high’. It does, however, interact with your brain’s own endocannabinoid system to damp down over-stimulation of brain receptors, reduce pain perception, ease anxiety, promote relaxation and improve sleep quality.
Contents Of This Article
Cannabidiol lowers blood pressure
Cannabidiol (CBD) supplements are increasingly used as an herbal supplement to generate feelings of well-being and to increase the ability to cope with anxiety and stress.
In a small trial, 9 healthy male volunteers were given breakfast and, 15 minutes later, took either a CBD capsules (providing a relatively high dose of 600mg cannabidiol) or placebo, without knowing which was which. This was repeated on separate occasions, to compare the effects of CBD against placebo on their resting blood pressure and how they responded to various types of stress:
- mental stress, which involved calculating an arithmetic sum every 2 second for 2 minutes
- exercise stress, in which they had to grip a hand dynamometer at 30% maximum strength for 2 minutes
- cold stress, in which they immersed their left foot, up to the ankle, in ice slush at a temperature of 4°C to 6°C for 2 minutes.
When the men took the active cannabidiol (CBD) dose, their resting systolic blood pressure fell significantly by an average of 6/3 mmHg, compared with placebo. When subjected to stress, those who had taken CBD also had a 5 mmHg lower blood pressure before and after mental stress, a systolic blood pressure that was 5 mmHg lower before and after exercise stress, and a systolic blood pressure that was 8 mmHg lower before and after cold stress.
As well as lowering blood pressure, there was an associated lower stroke volume (amount of blood pumped from the heart per beat) and a higher heart rate, especially during the post-test periods.
The researchers suggest these findings are due to the anti-anxiety and analgesic effects of cannabidiol (CBD) and may also show direct, beneficial cardiovascular effects in relaxing blood vessels.
Cannabidiol (CBD) supplements
Cannabidiol extracts are typically combined with olive oil, coconut oil or hemp seed oil to enhance absorption. They are available as capsules, gummies, drops and oral sprays.
Always follow manufacturer’s guidance on how much of their product to take, which will vary depending on concentration.
For general well-being the recommended dose is usually 10mg to no more than 200mg per day as a food supplement.
Products typically supply 6mg to 25mg CBD per serving.
NB The dose (600mg) used in this clinical trial was a medicinal therapeutic dose that is significantly higher than the doses found in supplements to promote well-being, relaxation and improve sleep.
Do not take high doses except under medical supervision.
If you are taking antihypertensive medication check with a doctor or pharmacist before using cannabidiol (CBD).
Best cannabidiol supplements
If you don’t mind the strong herbal flavour, then you can take cannabidiol as drops, a spray or as gummies. If you prefer to take cannabidiol in the form of a capsule, then Healthspan (for whom I act as a medical consultant) offer two strengths of pharmaceutical-grade cannabidiol in capsules which are easy to take:
- High strength CBD oil (6.4mg cannabidiol) with added olive oil to aid absorption. Dose: one to three capsules daily with water.
- Super Strength CBD Oil (15mg cannabidiol per capsule) with added food grade hemp oil to increase absorption. Dose: one to two capsules daily with water.
These are a perfect introduction to cannabidiol.
The LOVEHEMP range of products also provide a guaranteed level of cannabidiol, are made to pharmaceutical standards, are GMO free, organic and quality tested to ensure they are free from THC.
|LOVEHEMP’s CBD infused Gummy Bears provide 10mg CBD and are sugar-free. The recommended dose is 1 to 4 gummies per day, as needed, to feel cool and calm. Do not exceed 10 gummies daily.|
|LOVEHEMP’s 400mg CBD Oil atomiser spray contains coconut oil and is available in Natural, Peppermint, Orange and Lemon flavours. Just spritz under your tongue, and hold in your mouth for a minute or so before swallowing. The dose is 2 to 4 sprays, two to four times per day. A 2 spray dose provides 4mg cannabinoids.|
|LOVEHEMP’s 800mg 8% CBD Oil is available in natural, or Peppermint flavours. The CBD is dissolved in raw, organic hempseed oil within in a dark dropper bottle. The dose is 6 to 12 drops, taken two or three times a day. Place the drops under the tongue, and hold in your mouth for a minute or two before swallowing. The dose of 6 drops provides 20mg active cannabinoids (CBD).|
Cannabidiol side effects
Many small studies suggest that cannabidiol (CBD) is well tolerated with no significant side effects at usual doses. Cannabidiol CBD oil has beneficial effects on relaxation and well-being without producing a ‘high’.
In a recent report, the World Health Organisation confirmed that cannabidiol does not have any potential for causing physical dependence, withdrawal symptoms or tolerance (in which increasing doses would be needed – a phenomenon known as tachyphylaxis) and that cannabidiol is not associated with any potential for abuse. This has reassured many doctors that, in recommended doses for wellbeing, it is safe to use to aid relaxation and to offset the adverse effects of stress.
The high doses used in the above study should only be used under medical supervision, but small doses (eg 15mg twice a day) may help to reduce a stress-related raised blood pressure.
In clinical trials, commonly reported side effects with high doses of cannabidiol include sleepiness, diarrhoea, and changes in appetite.
NB. Do not take high doses of cannabidiol if you are on antihypertensive medication, as interactions can occur – CBD reduces the metabolism of certain drugs within the liver by inhibiting the effect of cytochrome P450 enzymes. This may slow the metabolism of some pharmaceutical drugs, leading to higher than normal blood levels.
If in doubt, always seek medical advice.
Cannabidiol used as a food supplement is legal within the UK and some other countries, as long as manufacturers do not make medical claims.
Image credits: public domain