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Can You Use CBD for Cardiovascular Disease? What the Science Says

Published May 08, 2024
Can You Use CBD for Cardiovascular Disease? What the Science Says - Secret Nature

There is considerable evidence that using CBD may either directly or indirectly help with cardiovascular disease. Scientists have considered the question from many angles, and the results they’ve come up with might be interesting to anyone seeking to improve their heart and vascular health. In this review of the available evidence, we’ll examine some of the most recent and pertinent studies that have been published on using CBD for cardiovascular health and disease.

CBD for Cardiovascular Disease: Overview

  • Various studies indicate that CBD should be investigated further for its cardiovascular potential
  • Scientists aren’t sure what’s behind CBD’s apparent heart benefits, but reduction of inflammation could play a role
  • CBD may also prevent toxic substances from entering the heart
  • It could even help cardiovascular mitochondria operate more efficiently
  • While only one human trial has been conducted, there’s lots of laboratory research to consider

Most Recent Research on CBD and Cardiovascular Disease

2023: CBD supplementation reduces arterial blood pressure via modulation of the sympatho-chromaffin system

As the sole human clinical trial that has yet been conducted on the subject, the results of this five-week study consisting of 54 patients are highly worthy of consideration. It specifically examined the impact of CBD on catestatin, a peptide that becomes present in greater concentrations as cardiac disease progresses. Administering CBD over the five-week period “reduced serum catestatin concentration[s],” leading the researchers to conclude not only that CBD has antihypertensive benefits but that these benefits may be explained by the cannabinoid’s apparent ability to reduce catestatin levels.

2022: Cannabidiol Downregulates Myocardial de Novo Ceramide Synthesis Pathway in a Rat Model of High-Fat Diet-Induced Obesity

Especially in obese individuals, cardiovascular disease is often marked by the appearance of ceramide pathways in the heart. The researchers who conducted this animal study found that CBD prevented the appearance of new ceramide pathways, indicating that CBD may prevent heart disease in a wider context via an as-yet-unknown mechanism.

2022: Anti-inflammatory effects of cannabidiol against lipopolysaccharides in cardiac sodium channels

This study used a model of sepsis to determine if CBD reduces the ability of toxic substances to enter the heart, thereby preventing cardiotoxicity. As a laboratory study, human cells were used instead of live subjects. In the end, the researchers found that “CBD may protect against sepsis-induced inflammation and subsequent arrhythmias,” specifically by inhibiting the release of cytokines, known pro-inflammatory substances that can worsen heart disease.

2021: Cannabidiol attenuates pulmonary arterial hypertension by improving vascular smooth muscle cells mitochondrial function

The results of this Chinese study are highly jargonized, so we’ll provide a brief summary instead of including many quotes. In brief, rodent models displayed that CBD might reduce hypertension by improving mitochondrial function and reducing oxidative stress. Overall, the findings are positive, culminating with the researchers stating their belief that CBD could play “an important role” in the treatment of hypertension.

Additional CBD for Cardiovascular Disease Studies

2022: Acute Cannabigerol Administration Lowers Blood Pressure in Mice

Using a mouse model, the facilitators of this study found that administering high doses of CBG, a cannabinoid very similar to CBD, noticeably reduces blood pressure. To explain this effect, the researchers suggested that CBG might act at alpha-2 adrenoreceptors, identifying yet another mechanism of action by which cannabinoids might impact cardiovascular health.

2021: Chronic cannabidiol treatment reduces the carbachol-induced coronary constriction and left ventricular cardiomyocyte width of the isolated hypertensive rat heart

The results of this study into CBD’s usefulness of cardiovascular conditions were inconclusive, but they’re worth including since this research team found CBD to affect heart-related adrenoreceptors. In the end, the researchers found that their results indicate caution is warranted when using CBD for heart conditions.

2020: Therapeutic Applications of Cannabinoids in Cardiomyopathy and Heart Failure

This wide-ranging review of the available research discusses various facets of the studies so-far conducted into CBD and cardiovascular health. Summarizing the findings of various studies, the authors note that CBD “can greatly limit the production of oxygen/nitrogen reactive species, thereby limiting cellular damage, protecting mitochondria… and reducing the area of infarct and fibrosis formation.” Truly, it seems there’s considerable merit to this line of research.

2015: Cannabidiol Protects against Doxorubicin-Induced Cardiomyopathy by Modulating Mitochondrial Function and Biogenesis

One of the first studies conducted into CBD’s usefulness for heart health foreshadows later findings that suggest the cannabinoid might keep toxins from entering the heart. In this study, researchers found that CBD prevented the known cardiovascular side effects of a controversial chemotherapy drug. Though focused on a specific application, this study provides evidence that CBD might help with cardiotoxicity overall. 

Discussion: Should CBD Be Used for Cardiovascular Disease?

If there’s any valid criticism to be levied at the body of research so-far accumulated on CBD and heart disease, it’s that the studies conducted are very wide-ranging. We’ve discussed how CBD might reduce hypertension, prevent the appearance of ceramide pathways, suppress the release of inflammatory cytokines, and improve cardiovascular mitochondrial functioning.

Within a scientific landscape that prefers to zoom in on specific mechanisms of action, CBD could be considered too wide-ranging to constitute an easily replicable treatment. At the same time, though, CBD’s holistic benefits could position it as an ideal adjunctive cardiovascular therapy. To be certain, more research needs to be conducted on CBD and cardiovascular disease, specifically a complete index on the various mechanisms of action by which this non-intoxicating cannabinoid might impact heart and vascular health.

In closing, it’s worth noting that lowering your blood pressure isn’t always desirable. If CBD truly helps with hypertension, those already using blood pressure medication should consult with a doctor before trying this cannabinoid.

Sources

1. Kumrić, M., Dujić, G., Vrdoljak, J., Svagusa, K., Kurir, T. T., Šupe‐Domić, D., Dujić, Ž., & Božić, J. (2023). CBD supplementation reduces arterial blood pressure via modulation of the sympatho-chromaffin system: A substudy from the HYPER-H21-4 trial. Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy, 160, 114387. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopha.2023.114387

2. Charytoniuk, T., Sztolsztener, K., Bielawiec, P., Chabowski, A., Konstantynowicz-Nowicka, K., & Harasim-Symbor, E. (2022). Cannabidiol Downregulates Myocardial de Novo Ceramide Synthesis Pathway in a Rat Model of High-Fat Diet-Induced Obesity. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 23(4), 2232. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23042232

3. Fouda, M. A., Mohamed, Y. F., Fernandez, R. C., & Ruben, P. C. (2022). Anti‐inflammatory effects of cannabidiol against lipopolysaccharides in cardiac sodium channels. British Journal of Pharmacology, 179(24), 5259–5272. https://doi.org/10.1111/bph.15936

4. Lü, X., Zhang, J., Liu, H., Ma, W., Yu, L., Tan, X., Wang, S., Ren, F., Li, X., & Li, X. (2021). Cannabidiol attenuates pulmonary arterial hypertension by improving vascular smooth muscle cells mitochondrial function. Theranostics, 11(11), 5267–5278. https://doi.org/10.7150/thno.55571

5. Vernail, V. L., Bingaman, S. S., Silberman, Y., Raup‐Konsavage, W. M., Vrana, K. E., & Arnold, A. C. (2022). Acute cannabigerol administration lowers blood pressure in mice. Frontiers in Physiology, 13. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2022.871962

6. Pędzińska-Betiuk, A., Weresa, J., Schlicker, E., Harasim-Symbor, E., Toczek, M., Kasacka, I., Gajo, B., & Malinowska, B. (2021). Chronic cannabidiol treatment reduces the carbachol-induced coronary constriction and left ventricular cardiomyocyte width of the isolated hypertensive rat heart. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, 411, 115368. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.taap.2020.115368

7. Garza-Cervantes, J. A., Ramos-González, M. R., Lozano, O., Jerjes‐Sánchez, C., & García‐Rivas, G. (2020). Therapeutic applications of cannabinoids in cardiomyopathy and heart failure. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, 2020, 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1155/2020/4587024

8. Hao, E., Mukhopadhyay, P., Cao, Z., Erdélyi, K., Holovac, E., Liaudet, L., Lee, W., Haskó, G., Mechoulam, R., & Pacher, P. (2015). Cannabidiol Protects against Doxorubicin-Induced Cardiomyopathy by Modulating Mitochondrial Function and Biogenesis. Molecular Medicine, 21(1), 38–45. https://doi.org/10.2119/molmed.2014.00261

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