When a person becomes stressed it can affect their blood pressure and heart rate.
The American Heart Association reports that when stress is excessive, it can contribute to everything from high blood pressure/hypertension, to asthma to ulcers to irritable bowel syndrome.
Stress can trigger inflammation response which is associated with many disease symptoms.
Historically, many Americans used cigarettes to cope in stressful situations. Because cigarettes are known to be harmful to human health, some stressed out people have turned to cannabis for help.
Cannabis impacts the body’s experience of stress in a variety of ways.
Some cannabis contains a significant amount of Cannabidiol (CBD). CBD can be calming, thereby decreasing stress and the inflammation response. There is very limited data available, however, the conclusion of the data that is available is that acute and chronic administration of CBD has no effect on blood pressure or heart rate under control conditions.
However, CBD has been shown to reduce blood pressure and heart rate when the patient identified themselves as being in stressful conditions and was noted to increase cerebral blood flow (CBF) in mouse models that had a stroke.
Some patients report having arrhythmias associated with cannabis use. This is frequently associated with higher levels of THC in the product consumed.
Another factor that influences individual experience with cannabis are the terpenes present in each cultivar. Some terpenes are shown to exacerbate cardiovascular issues while others are used to relax and provoke sleep. Individual response to terpenes is to be expected, so popular generalizations about Indica or Sativa varieties are not always helpful for consumers seeking a variety of cannabis to provoke relaxation. Consumers have to figure out what works best for them as an individual.
Cannabis is modulated by liver enzymes, and cannabis products rich in CBD will have drug-to-drug interactions with a wide variety of medications making them either less or more potent within the body.
If you take a blood pressure or other medication that has a “grapefruit warning,” be sure to talk to your doctor about also incorporating cannabis into your medical care program safely, minimizing drug-to-drug interactions.