According to recent statistics, approximately 75 million American adults (29% of the population) have high blood pressure, a condition that is also known as hypertension. Globally, nearly one billion people have high blood pressure.
While high blood pressure might not seem like such a fatal condition to have, especially when compared to other things such as cancer or seizures, high blood pressure is known within the medical industry as the “silent killer”, as it will often have no warning signs or symptoms and can lead to serious long-term health issues.
High blood pressure is the main risk factor for stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and kidney disease.
Blood Pressure : What is high blood pressure?
Before we explain what high blood pressure is, let’s define the term “blood pressure.”
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against blood vessel walls. Blood pressure is written as two numbers, such as 114/70 mm Hg. The first number is the pressure when the heart beats. The second number is the pressure when the heart rests between beats. Normal blood pressure is below 120/80 mm Hg.
High blood pressure occurs when the pressure in your arteries is higher than it should be. In other words, it’s when your blood pushes against the walls of your blood vessels at a rate which is too high. High blood pressure will not have an immediate impact on your health, but over time, the force of high blood pressure damages tissues inside the arteries causing the arteries to become smaller (narrower). This raises blood pressure and starts a circle of problems that can cause your health to deteriorate. Untreated high blood pressure can lead to medical problems such as;
- Heart failure
- Kidney failure
- Heart attack
What are the Main Causes of High Blood Pressure?
Unlike other medical conditions, high blood pressure can not be self-diagnosed. You simply can’t tell if you’ve got high blood pressure or not until you start to feel other problems. The best way to monitor your blood pressure is to have it checked regularly by your doctor. Nevertheless, there are several symptoms that may indicate high blood pressure issues. These include:
- Severe headache
- Vision problems
- Difficulty breathing
- Irregular heartbeat
Although the exact cause of high blood pressure is still a mystery to most physicians, it is assumed that some of the following factors and conditions may play a role in causing it. These include;
- Eating too much salt in your diet
- Alcohol consumption
- Older age
- Chronic kidney disease
- Sleep apnea
- Lack of exercise
- An unhealthy diet
Traditional Treatments for High Blood Pressure
One of the most effective treatments for combating high blood pressure is to acknowledge the problem and actively do something about it. For example, losing weight if you are overweight. Quitting smoking. Eating a healthy diet and regularly working out. Also, it is always best to limit alcohol consumption.
There are several types of drugs that are used to treat high blood pressure. These include;
Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) – These are drugs that are used for controlling high blood pressure, treating heart failure and preventing kidney failure.
Drugs such as Amiloride and Bumetanide that help your kidneys take salt and water out of your body.
Drugs such as Acebutolol or Atenolol that slow down your heartbeat and keep your heart from squeezing hard.
Calcium channel blockers
Drugs such as Norvasc and Plendil that are used to lower blood pressure. They slow the movement of calcium into the cells of the heart and blood vessel walls which makes it easier for the heart to pump and widens blood vessels.
These drugs help stop nerve signals before they can tell your blood vessels to tighten. Your vessels stay relaxed allowing the blood to run through them at a smoother rate. Alpha-blocker drugs include Doxazosin and Prazosin.
Please note that similar to any pharmaceutical drug, you may experience side effects. These can include; coughing, red or itchy skin, sore throat, fever, mouth sores, unusual bruising, severe vomiting or diarrhea, etc… Always follow the label directions on the medication prescribed by your doctor and constantly schedule routine checkups.
Omega 3 fish oil supplements
Over the last couple of years, many people that suffer from high blood pressure have turned to Omega 3 fish oil supplements. Omega 3 contacts both docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) which help to prevent heart disease and lower blood pressure,
Marijuana Treatment for High Blood Pressure
Marijuana and high blood pressure is an extremely controversial topic. Studies suggest that immediately after cannabis consumption, non-regular users will experience a mild to moderate increase in blood pressure and heart rate which can be dangerous for high blood pressure sufferers. Repeated users have been witnessed to develop a tolerance to this immediate reaction.
In regards to long-term use, the connection between marijuana and high blood pressure is debatable. On one hand, several studies have shown that it has had a positive effect, helping to lower blood pressure. For example, one study, conducted on hypertensive rats, recorded a drop in blood pressure after they were injected with THC. On the other hand, other studies have concluded that cannabis consumption among those that suffer from high blood pressure can worsen the condition.
According to some, it also depends on the method of consumption. For example, vaping is considered a safer bet than traditional smoking as when vaping your body isn’t fighting off toxins in your lungs, which are supposed to increase blood pressure.
Research has shown that anandamide, the body’s natural version of THC relaxes blood vessels allowing blood to flow through more freely and due to this it is believed that if the body’s natural THC components can help to reduce high blood pressure, then specific marijuana strains may have a positive effect on helping patients overcome high blood pressure.
The best-known strains for hypertension include Indica dominant hybrids such as White Haze (Indica) and Early Queen (Indica), but these strains are not always found at every dispensary.
Due to this, we’ve brought you some of the more popular strains that have been known to have a positive effect on high blood pressure.
5 Best Marijuana Strains for High Blood Pressure
Please note that it is always best to consult with a medical marijuana doctor before consuming any marijuana strain, and if you do suffer from any severe medical conditions, you should attend regular checkups to monitor your blood pressure and medical situation.
Marijuana Strain #1 – Blue Dream
Blue dream is one of the most popular strains on dispensary shelves – and for a good reason. Apart from providing its patients with a feeling of relaxation and balance, this hybrid marijuana strain all has a great kick that can combat a wide range of medical problems. It’s been known to help those who suffer from chronic fatigue, ADD/ADHD and depression but has also been known to help some patients with high blood pressure – allowing them to wind down and relax, exactly what those blood vessels need.
Marijuana Strain #2 – Green Crack
This 20% THC powerhouse is great for daytime use and perfect for those who need morning medication. Green Crack has been known to help those that suffer from arthritis and other chronic pain conditions. The high THC levels are thought to have a positive effect on the body similar to the body’s natural THC.
Marijuana Strain #3 – Sour Diesel
The exact genetics of this marijuana strain are a mystery to most people, but it is thought to be a cross between the illustrious Northern Lights, Chemdawg and Skunk No. 1. Containing a 22% THC level and 0.2% CBD level, Sour Diesel is a preferred medical marijuana strain as it helps reduce stress and anxiety often associated with high blood pressure.
Marijuana Strain #4- Northern Lights
Known for providing a happy, relaxing, uplifting feeling Northern Lights has become a popular marijuana strain to treat a variety of conditions including anxiety, depression, headaches, insomnia, nausea, and pain. Some patients have even said that this 18% THC marijuana strain helps them with their blood pressure allowing them to relax and remove bodily pain and muscle tension, causing the blood to flow freely throughout the body.
Marijuana Strain #5 – Purple Kush
Purple Kush is the last Indica strain on our list and is often recommended by dispensaries as the number 1 cure for a variety of medical conditions. Emerging from Oakland California this strain is a favorite among its locals. It’s perfect for stress and providing that ultimate relaxing feeling – exactly what is needed when you suffer from hypertension.
Final Thoughts About Marijuana and High Blood Pressure
When using medical cannabis to combat high blood pressure it is always important to remember that specific marijuana strains could have an adverse effect on the body. While marijuana strains are known to have an immediate uplifting effect, which is excellent for some conditions, it can also increase the heart rate which isn’t a good side-effect for those who suffer from high blood pressure. It’s important to consult with a professional before you decide to use marijuana as a medical treatment and receive a detailed plan on how to consume to avoid any complications especially as the effect of cannabis on each individual is different from person to person.
This article is for informative purposes only and readers are advised to make their own independent research and decisions in regards to anything cannabis.