If you ever hold your breath and focus, you might notice a ticking sensation in your chest. It likely won’t surprise you to know that that noise is your heart. This lovely organ is responsible for keeping your blood flowing, your body working, and just generally keeping you alive.
However, your heart is a secret ticking time bomb; coronary heart disease is the biggest killer on the planet, with 17.3 million deaths last year alone. That huge figure means that 30% of all deaths that occurred in the entire world in 2017, occurred thanks to coronary heart disease.
Now that you know this, it might make sense that everyone is always talking about making sure you keep your heart healthy with regular exercise and a proper diet. However, no matter what we do, it never seems to be enough. Despite working out and eating right, coronary heart disease can still sneak up on you and kill you.
Could we be using CBD oil for heart health, and/or as a palliative treatment option to prevent potential disease? Find out in this article.
What Does “Heart Health” Mean, Exactly?
Your heart is an incredibly complex organ, responsible for the circulation of blood throughout your body. Once your heart stops, that’s when you stop.
However, the idea of “heart health” is a pretty nebulous concept; what exactly is good for your heart, and what does having good heart health even mean?
When healthy, your heart beats regularly, in a steady rhythm without disturbance, at a smooth pace. In an unhealthy heart, however, the heart may beat irregularly, or have trouble trying to pump blood throughout the body easily and efficiently.
This latter issue is usually the result of cholesterol or plaque buildup along the arterial walls, or high blood pressure. Annoyingly, both of these issues are often the result of simple genetics – you can eat well your entire life and still have high cholesterol, whereas high blood pressure can be due to so many causes that it’s just hard to keep track of everything.
You can control your heart health to some extent, primarily through diet and exercise. Current conventional wisdom dictates that you need at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity per week, spread out over the course of a few days. Most people generally achieve this through sports or running, but a lot of people struggle to achieve this every week.
For diet, you generally just want to ensure you eat balanced meals that are low in sodium and bad cholesterol (i.e. try and stay away from too much of things like egg yolks and butter).
However, all the good advice in the world won’t help you when you struggle to find time in your day to fit all these healthy heart workouts in. There are a variety of supplements we can take as well, increasing our heart’s strength and reducing the risk of coronary heart disease.
In recent years, however, CBD has begun to be be seen as another option for helping promote healthy hearts. Does it actually work, or is it just another one of the countless scams that have infiltrated advertising outlets over the decades?
Let’s find out. First, though, let’s take a look at what CBD actually is.
CBD Oil for Heart Health: What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, aka CBD, is the “non-psychoactive brother” of THC – the infamous substance that gets you high. Despite its poor reputation (thanks to years of mudslinging from opposing parties), Cannabis sativa has a number of useful medical properties. Within cannabis, CBD works alongside THC to help make you healthier, as well as counteract some of the undesirable effects of THC.
Various studies have been conducted into the beneficial qualities of CBD, such as one study by Hahn et al. that demonstrated CBD’s antipsychotic qualities and its ability to stop the progression of psychosis in patients.
CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, which is a system that exists throughout the body and helps to regulate a number of different functions, most significantly cellular regrowth and the release of brain chemicals.
CBD interacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in this system which, when triggered, encourage the body to heal itself naturally. It also circumvents a variety of the “unpleasant side effects” of healing, such as inflammation (as evidenced in a study by Carrier et al. that proved that CBD to have positive effects on reducing inflammation).
So, now that we know how and why CBD works well with the human body, how might it help with promoting heart health?
CBD for Heart Health: Effects on Your Arterial Walls
Firstly, CBD has been shown to work in strengthening the arterial walls. The arteries are the major highways of your circulatory system, carrying huge amounts of freshly oxygenated blood all around your body. The walls that make up the arteries can become prone to degradation, especially as a result of high blood pressure.
A study conducted by Stanley et al. for the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology found that CBD causes vasorelaxation on the circulatory system, reducing vascular tension and helping maintain the integrity of arterial walls.
Alongside that, CBD also has the ability to help protect against a high glucose environment caused by excess amounts of sugar in the bloodstream, which is a common result of type-2 diabetes.
CBD and Heart Health: Reduces Inflammation
As mentioned previously, CBD has the potential to help reduce inflammation throughout the human body. Demonstrated in that now famous study by Carrier at al. (which we already mentioned), CBD interacts with the CB2 receptor, acting as an enhancer to adenosine signaling.
This simply means that, when CBD interacts with CB2, it makes the body’s natural anti-inflammation chemicals work better. By interacting with a different receptor, A2A, CBD works to ensure that inflammation is abated all over the body – including cardiovascular regions.
This ultimately does mean you’re “tricking” your body, telling it that it doesn’t need to be inflamed, and that everything is fine! This is the same thing we do when we take a fever suppressant like ibuprofen; we tell our body a “little white lie” to make it hurt itself less.
These anti-inflammation properties can be of course incredibly beneficial to people with heart disease, as inflammation of the heart muscles is one of the key causes for a variety of different type of heart ailments. By making sure your heart doesn’t suffer from inflammation, you reduce your chance of significant coronary heart disease.
CBD for a Healthy Heart: Maintaining Blood Pressure
According to the Heart Foundation, high blood pressure is one of the main risk factors for heart disease due to the increased exertion of your blood on the arterial walls, not to mention the increased strain the heart goes under.
In a study conducted by Jadoon et al., patients were given either a high dose of CBD or a placebo, and then tested in a variety of ways to determine their blood pressure and heart rate. The results demonstrated that, after the administration of CBD, patients reported reduced resting blood pressure, as well as corresponding reduced blood pressure stress.
This more or less proves that CBD has a marked effect on the rate of your blood pressure, most likely as a result of its vascular-relaxant properties. By making your arteries less tense and stressed – almost as if from a circulatory massage – your blood exerts less pressure on the arterial walls, leading to less degradation in arterial strength and heart integrity.
Jadoon et al.’s study advises taking CBD regularly if you suffer from chronic high blood pressure, but a separate study, conducted by Batkai et al. for the American Heart Association, also mentioned that it is possible for CBD to act as a preventative to high blood pressure.
After monitoring data from several subjects, the study concluded that CBD suppresses cardiac contractility in hypertension, as well as helping normalize blood pressure even without hypertension being present.
With this in mind, it appears that CBD can act as both a preventative option and a practical treatment option for hypertension.
Final Thoughts on CBD for Heart Health
CBD interacts with the human body in a variety of ways – from dealing with skin conditions to promoting cellular regrowth throughout the body, it is becoming more and more well known and useful for a myriad of conditions.
With recent studies demonstrating that CBD interacts with the heart in previously unknown ways, CBD could be just what you need to help promote a healthy heart. Through the prevention and treatment of hypertension, the reduction of body-wide inflammation, and perhaps most usefully of all, the encouragement of strong arterial walls, CBD appears to be able to help deal with a variety of well known causes of Coronary Heart Disease.
You absolutely should be exercising regularly, getting that heart pumping with intensity every single day; and you should absolutely be eating well and making sure to avoid too many saturated fats in your food. All this good advice still stands for keeping your heart healthy. However, as a supplemental form of “protection,” the aforementioned studies show that you may want to consider using CBD oil to help keep your heart healthy as well. Coupled with proper diet and exercise, it could be just what your heart needs.