Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. According to the CDC, 610,000 people die from this disease every year. The CDC also notes that approximately 21.8 million adults are diagnosed with heart disease yearly. While there are many prescription medications on the market currently used for treatment, CBD is drawing attention for its benefits with heart health.
CBD, cannabidiol, is a chemical compound found in hemp plants. This cannabinoid works with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a physiological network in the body responsible for maintaining homeostasis. The ECS uses CBD to create balance with functions like sleep, mood regulation, the immune system and relief of pain and inflammation. CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that won’t create a “high” or cause adverse side effects associated with THC, like anxiety or paranoia. Cannabidiol works exceptionally well within the ECS because it is able to bind to the two receptors, CB-1 and CB-2, where some cannabinoids only bind to one.
How Can CBD Improve Heart Health?
One of the main ways that CBD helps to keep the heart healthy is by maintaining lower blood pressure. Cannabidiol is considered to be a vasodilator which opens up blood vessels and allows blood to flow more easily. In addition to treating high blood pressure, vasodilators can treat or prevent heart failure, pulmonary hypertension and chest pain caused by reduced blood flow (angina). High blood pressure can cause damage to the arteries and the heart causing issues like an enlarged heart or coronary artery disease. CBD is also effective in reducing the issues caused by damaged blood vessels.
In addition to naturally lowering blood pressure, CBD is known to reduce anxiety and stress, which can cause blood pressure spikes. This is exceptionally helpful in lowering heart rate. Excessive beating only causes the heart to work hard than it has to. A study in the British Journal of Pharmacology found mice treated with CBD had a reduction in heart arrhythmia. An arrhythmia is when the heart beats too fast, too slow or irregularly. The research points towards the ECS working to support regular, balanced function of the heart.
CBD is a powerful anti-inflammatory through the body. Inflammation is an immune response combating injury or infection. As previously mentioned, CBD works with the ECS receptor CB-2, which is connected to the immune system. Myocarditis is a viral inflammation within the heart, effecting the muscle and electrical system. This can result in reducing the heart’s ability to pump and causing irregular heartbeats. CBD can work with the immune system to reduce the inflammation. A study done by the Hadassah Hebrew University Medical Center, found a reduction in the amount of cell death in the heart when CBD was administered to mice with myocarditis. Cannabidiol is also a strong anti-microbial, fighting bacterial, fungal and viral infections. CBD can support the immune system in killing the viral infection, thus reducing the inflammatory response.