Do you know the risks and benefits of cannabis for heart health? Dr. Muthiah Vaduganathan, a cardiologist at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston authored a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology last week. Medications used to treat cardiovascular disease, including statins and blood thinners are broken down by the same liver enzymes as CBD, and CBD may increase the time they stay in the body. Cannabis increased the effectiveness of warfarin by as much as 30% in this study last year. Marijuana may increase the potency of statins, and patients need to discuss cannabis use with their doctors so that pharmaceuticals can be adjusted. Smoking is discouraged for patients with arrhythmia or heart failure and heart rate increases may be unsettling.
Yet cannabis as medicine may be protective to the cardiovascular system. Studies of Canada’s Inuit community found that, on average, regular cannabis users had increased levels of HDL-C “good cholesterol” and slightly lower levels of LDL-C “bad cholesterol”. Inflammation and microbes that damage arterial walls leads to plaque which narrows vessels causing hypertension and heart disease. Endocannabinoid signaling may play a role in managing this as CB2 receptor expression is heightened in this disease process. Plant cannabinoids activate CB2 to reduce inflammation and slow the progression of atherosclerosis. CBD & THC are also vasorelaxant, which means they can relax arterial circulation and lower blood pressure. Those taking blood pressure medicine should monitor their BP when starting CBD oil because those RX can also be reduced over time.
Finally, heart health is influenced by our emotional state. Stress is involved in unhealthy physiological states that wreak havoc on every system. Bringing down stress through exercise, healthy hobbies, connecting with friends and family, and vibrant nutrition is your first order of business. Supplementing with whole plant cannabis oil tinctures is another way to boost overall heart health. To learn how plant medicine can be added to your integrative treatment plan, connect with Holistic Caring to schedule a consult and be safely supported.