Best CBD Oil for High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) – February 2022
A sublingual application of CBD oil tincture may be the best way to take CBD for high blood pressure as it gets absorbed by the body fast, and the effects are felt for an extended period.
Here are products that are recommended to use to help with issues related to high blood pressure.
- Editor’s Pick:CBD Oil by Spruce
- Best Organic:Full Spectrum Hemp Oil by Nuleaf Naturals
- Best Range of CBD Oil:CBD Oil by Healthworx
- Most Pure:Full Spectrum CBD Oil by CBDistillery
- Best Value:Super Good Vibes CBD Oil by Sabaidee
Spruce 750mg Lab Grade CBD Oil
Specifically formulated to be more palatable to CBD users
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Each bottle of the 750mg CBD oil tincture contains 25mg of CBD per dropper full. The oil is peppermint flavor to mask any unpleasant tastes related to CBD.
- Natural peppermint flavor
- Made from 100% organic and natural ingredients
- No other flavors
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NuLeaf Naturals 900mg Full Spectrum Hemp CBD Oil
Perfect for anyone who are looking for CBD products that promote a healthy body and mind.
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Natural remedy for various illnesses. NuLeaf Naturals’ CBD oil is a whole-plant extract containing a full spectrum of naturally occurring synergistic cannabinoids and terpenes.
- Pure CBD hemp
- All natural
- Approximately 300 drops total
- No other flavors
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Healthworx CBD Oil
Healthworx CBD Oil offers high-quality products that is sure to give you the best results.
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Healthworx CBD Oil offers a range of strength and types of cbd depending on your preference. They also give you the choice of which kind of effect you want to tackle. Healthworx as a brand has an advantage since they are based in Colorado where quality CBD ingredients can be found. With that being in mind, it is sure you can receive high-quality products from the brand especially on their CBD Oil Tinctures.
- Has various variations of strengths and kinds
- Third party lab testing
- Contains coconut oil
- Does not ship internationally
|Discount pricing available?||Discounts are available for members of their loyalty program|
CBDistillery Full Spectrum CBD Oil
Reap all of the benefits of cannabis plant without any potentially intoxicating effects.
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CBDistillery’s Full Spectrum Oil Tinctures combine the powers of CBD oil and other naturally occurring plant proteins, minerals, vitamins, and more so that you can get all of the benefits of the cannabis plant without any potentially intoxicating effects.
- 60-Day Satisfaction Guarantee
- Various strengths
- Oil extracted from aerial plant parts of US grown industrial hemp
- Sourced from non-GMO industrial hemp grown in the USA through natural farming practices
- Dropper is a bit shaky
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Sabaidee Super Good Vibes CBD Oil
4x the strength of a regular cbd oil
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Super Good Vibes CBD Oil provides the purest and highest quality Cannabidiol (CBD) on the market as well as other high quality phytocannabinoids, terpenes, vitamins, omega fatty acids, trace minerals, and other beneficial for your health elements, which all work together to provide benefits.
- Extra strong
- Significant benefits with just a few drops
- 100% Natural ingredients
- No other flavors
|Discount pricing available?||15% Off Coupon Code: CBDCLINICALS15|
Why People Are Taking CBD for High Blood Pressure
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), high blood pressure can harden and narrow the arteries, which decreases the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart, leading to heart disease (5 ) .
In a 2015 study conducted by researchers from the University of Nottingham Royal Derby Hospital in the UK, CBD was shown to be a potent vascular relaxant to human gut arteries, suggesting its potential benefits to dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow (6 ) .
How CBD Oil Works to Help with High Blood Pressure
CBD has been shown to possess potential benefits that may help lower blood pressure by addressing health issues that cause blood pressure to rise.
CBD’s Anti-Anxiety Effects
Some factors linked to high blood pressure are anxiety and lack of sleep.
In a 2019 study published in The Permanente Journal , sleep and anxiety scores were measured in human subjects, and the findings showed that CBD could hold benefits for anxiety-related disorders (7 ) .
In another study , which was published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2019, CBD was shown to help in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (8 ) .
The relaxation response can reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension, as indicated in the results of a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2018 (9 ) .
CBD as a Vasodilator
As a natural vasodilator, CBD may help improve positive cardiovascular health by widening the blood vessels to allow smooth blood flow.
CBD’s role as a vasodilator was highlighted in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, and randomized crossover study conducted by researchers from the Royal Derby Hospital Centre and Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology & Metabolism, Churchill Hospital in the UK in 2017 (10 ) .
In the said study , researchers explored the connection between CBD and a reduction in blood pressure, and they found that a single dose of CBD oil significantly lowered blood pressure in a small study of healthy human volunteers, both under stress and at rest.
However, the authors also noted that “there are no dedicated studies in humans to date, to our knowledge, looking at the effect of CBD on either resting cardiovascular measurement or on the responses to stress, with continuous monitoring of cardiovascular parameters.”
CBD’s Anti-Inflammatory Effects
Studies conducted by researchers from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine in 2009 also reveal that CBD possesses anti-inflammatory properties. Since inflammation can cause high blood pressure or vice versa, eliminating inflammation may help alleviate high blood pressure (11 ) .
However, inflammation may be a result of other diseases as well. Thus, leading a healthy lifestyle while using CBD oil is advised.
CBD vs. Cortisol Secretion
Cortisol, the “stress hormone,” is released by the body under stress. An elevated cortisol level may cause a physical stress response in the body that could raise blood pressure.
Results from a 1993 study published in the Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research suggested that CBD interferes with cortisol secretion (12 ) . Thus, if high blood pressure is due to elevated stress levels, CBD oil may theoretically be beneficial.
CBD and The Dynamics of Blood Flow
In a systematic review and meta-analysis published in the Frontiers in Pharmacology Journal in 2017, the authors examined the hemodynamic (blood flow) effects of CBD (13 ) .
The authors of the said study concluded that CBD might be used as a potential remedy for cardiovascular disorders, such as hypertension and stroke.
However, they found no evidence that CBD provides similar results under non-stressful conditions.
Much of these data were from mice, and results from human studies on the effects of CBD on hemodynamics is still limited.
CBD Interacts with Neurotransmitters
Results of a 2017 study published in the Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research Journal show how a neurotransmitter, such as anandamide, plays a critical role in the functioning of the heart (14 ) .
Data from the study has shown that CBD oil regulates the reuptake of essential heart neurotransmitters that control the cardiovascular system.
CBD’s Neuroprotective Effects
A study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology in 2013 has shown how CBD allows blood flow in the vessels to maintain healthy blood pressur e in animal models (15 ) .
The review has also presented evidence of the positive effects of CBD in the cardiovascular system.
Data from the said study illustrate that CBD potentially provides neuroprotective effects, which may help protect the brain against stroke.
The findings also suggest that CBD can induce a healthy heart rhythm after an ischemic attack, which is caused by a build-up or blockage in the arteries. Thus, CBD was shown to potentially improve heart performance immediately after a heart attack in non-human models.
Although the results demonstrate that the cardiovascular system is a valid therapeutic target for CBD, the target sites of action for CBD remain to be established for most of the responses.
As more and more studies and clinical trials are conducted in human subjects, CBD oil’s efficacy in treating high blood pressure would become more explicit.
The Pros and Cons of CBD Oil for High Blood Pressure
- CBD “is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile,” as the World Health Organization (WHO) states in a critical review (16 ) .
- CBD’s feasibility as a potential remedy to hypertension-related symptoms has been shown in the numerous studies stated above.
- Studies are too limited to determine whether or not CBD is an effective treatment for conditions other than the ones approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- As with the use of any natural chemical compound, there are risks involved in using CBD. According to the Mayo Clinic, possible side effects include drowsiness, dry mouth, diarrhea, fatigue, and reduced appetite (17 ) .
- Most of the results from blood pressure-related studies done on CBD have been gathered through tests that involve healthy volunteers, very low population sizes, or animals, like that of a study done on rats (18 ) .
Given the limited scope, facts cannot be established that the results of previous investigations would be comparable with that of tests involving ill human subjects.
- CBD has been shown to alter how the body metabolizes certain medications, as a 2017 research reveals (19 ) . With results published in the Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research Journal , the research suggests that the combination of CBD with other high blood pressure medications has the potential to alter the blood concentrations of either substance.
Results of a study published in the Medicines Journal indicated that the CYP450 family of enzymes is responsible for metabolizing several phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids that exist naturally in the cannabis plant), including CBD (20 ) .
If one is already on high blood pressure medication, taking CBD in combination with the prescribed drug can lower blood pressure too much. Blood pressure that is too low is as bad as blood pressure that is too high.
- The lack of regulation makes it difficult to determine whether the CBD gummies, tinctures, patches, balms, and gelcaps contain what the product label claims.
A 2017 review published in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed labeling inaccuracies among CBD products. Some products had less CBD than stated, while others had more (21 ) .
Experts recommend speaking with a physician before adding CBD onto the medications that are currently taken. The doctor may want to reduce the dosage strength of the blood pressure prescription before incorporating CBD oil into the daily regimen of an individual.
How CBD Oil Compares to Alternative Treatments for High Blood Pressure
Although the prescription medications currently available for hypertension are effective, they bring about side effects, which can make the treatment an unpleasant experience.
Cannabidiol (CBD), on the other hand, is a natural alternative that has shown to have little side effects, and the side effects of CBD are less common than the effects associated with most pharmaceutical medications used to treat high blood pressure.
How To Choose The Right CBD for High Blood Pressure
The best CBD oil product to use for high blood pressure is CBD tincture. By taking a sublingual dosage, the optimum level of CBD gets absorbed into the system, which means CBD works the fastest, and the effects are probably felt the longest.
However, regardless of the form of CBD product one chooses, he or she must employ careful consideration in choosing the best CBD oil for high blood pressure that is right for him or her.
The following factors are essential to ensure the safety and reliability of the CBD products purchased:
- Research on the exact legal stipulations applicable to CBD in the area where it would be purchased and used.
- Purchase only from legitimate and reliable big brands. The majority of companies that manufacture the best CBD oil products grow their hemp from their farm, or they purchase from licensed hemp producers.
- When buying from an online store, do some research on product reviews first. When buying from a physical store or dispensary, check whether the store is authorized by the government to sell CBD.
- One important thing to look for in CBD products is certification codes. Several certification authorities approve certain products only after some thorough screening tests.
- Compare company claims about their products’ potency with that of the third-party lab reports.
- Consulting with a trusted medical professional who is experienced in CBD use is ideal before purchasing any CBD product .
CBD Dosage For High Blood Pressure
In a 2019 review, Mayo Clinic suggests CBD dosages based on publications, scientific research, traditional use, and expert opinion (22 ) .
The doses and duration of treatment depend primarily on the illness. However, there is no specific dose recommended for high blood pressure.
Results of a 2017 study published in the Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research Journal provided evidence that a dosage of up to 1,500 mg of CBD a day is well-tolerated by humans (23 ) .
The authors of the study also found that at lower doses, CBD showed physiological effects that could potentially help promote and maintain health, including antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotection effects.
Following the dosing instructions on the CBD product of choice and starting with a low dose are the best course of action for those who would like to try CBD. Taking high doses at the beginning may bring about adverse reactions in the user.
As with any medication, the dose would depend on the metabolism, genetics, size, and body weight of a person.
How to Take CBD Oil for High Blood Pressure
There are various ways to consume CBD oil, and the delivery format would most likely depend on personal preferences and lifestyle.
CBD Oil Capsules and Edibles
CBD oil capsules and edibles, such as brownies, gummies, and lozenges, are a convenient and straightforward way to take CBD oil, especially for beginners.
This format is easy to work into a routine, and the dose is consistent. Depending on the metabolism of an individual, the effects can last between 6 and 12 hours. Thus, one dose is probably all that is needed during the day.
However, consuming CBD oil can delay its effects as it has to pass through the digestive system before it gets absorbed into the bloodstream. Given that the effects of the CBD oil could take at least 20 minutes to an hour to appear, CBD oil capsules and edibles do not provide immediate relief.
CBD Oil Tinctures or Drops
CBD oil tinctures or drops are a practical option for those who seek faster results and maximum dosage control.
Tinctures and drops are administered under the tongue, through which the CBD oil is absorbed directly into the bloodstream.
Place the desired quantity of drops under the tongue using a dropper, and then let the CBD oil stay in place for at least 60 seconds. Once 60 seconds have passed, swallow the CBD oil.
Sublingual application allows for results to be experienced within 30 to 60 minutes after its use, and the effects can be felt for 4 to 6 hours.
Since tinctures and drops are convenient and easy to store and travel with, they can be effortlessly administered when needed.
However, one significant drawback to CBD oil tinctures and drops is the taste, as not everyone appreciates the natural, earthy, and sometimes bitter flavor of hemp.
Although some products come in various flavors to compensate for the unpleasant taste, the addition of sugar and chemicals may be something that one wants to avoid.
CBD Oil Vapes
CBD oil vapes are one of the accelerated ways to get CBD into the body since it enters the bloodstream through the lungs, without going through the digestive system.
When vaping CBD oil, effects can be felt in minutes. However, the effects last only for 30 minutes to an hour or two.
Also, with vaping, it is difficult to determine precisely how much CBD is in each draw. Although labels for CBD oil vape products usually indicate the amount per inhale, the amount may vary in individuals. Thus, getting the dose right requires a bit of experimentation at first.
Understanding High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is influenced by how much blood the heart pumps, how hard it pumps, and the resistance to blood flow in the arteries.
According to Mayo Clinic, the higher the amount of blood the heart pumps and the narrower the arteries, the higher the blood pressure (24 ) .
The narrowing and blocking of blood vessels that is caused by high blood pressure, or hypertension, affects heart health by increasing the risk of developing heart failure.
What A Blood Pressure Reading Means
When the doctor measures blood pressure, the reading is given in two numbers. The first number, referred to as systolic blood pressure, is the pressure caused by the heart contracting and releasing blood. The second number, called diastolic blood pressure, is the pressure when the heart relaxes and fills with blood.
The blood pressure reading is given as the systolic blood pressure number over the diastolic blood pressure number, such as 135/70.
A normal blood pressure reading for adults is 120/80, according to the American Heart Association (AHA) (25 ) .
Are There High Blood Pressure Symptoms?
The American Heart Association (AHA) calls high blood pressure a “silent killer.” An individual can have high blood pressure for years without any indications (26 ) .
Most people with high blood pressure do not exhibit symptoms, even though blood pressure readings rise to critically-high levels.
Meanwhile, AHA says, some people with high blood pressure may experience shortness of breath, headaches, or nosebleeds. However, these symptoms are not specific and do not occur until high blood pressure has reached a life-threatening stage.
Still, even in the absence of symptoms, damage to the heart and blood vessels continues and can be detected, AHA says .
The agency warns that undetected or unregulated high blood pressure intensifies the risk of severe health problems, including strokes and heart attacks (27 ) .
High blood pressure typically develops over several years, and it eventually affects almost everyone (28 ) .
The National Institute on Aging (NIA) states that high blood pressure is a critical health issue that is typical among older people (29 ) .
Fortunately, it is not difficult to detect high blood pressure. One can work with a doctor to control the condition once diagnosed.
To learn more about the studies on blood pressure, go to ClinicalTrials.gov or PubMed.gov (30 ) .
Traditional Medications for High Blood Pressure
Doctors often prescribe one or more of the following pharmaceutical drugs to people dealing with high blood pressure (31 ) :
- Diuretics, like Diuril and Lozol, increase urination which reduces sodium and fluid in the body. Because diuretics lower blood volume, they help lower blood pressure. However, one side effect of diuretics can be a loss of potassium, which is needed for proper muscular movement.
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) like Diovan, which, as vasodilators, dilate blood vessels. Their potential side effects include skin rashes, swelling mouth, joint and back pain, flu-like symptoms, nausea, headaches, and diarrhea.
- Metoprolol beta-blockers, like Toprol-XL and Lopressor, slow the heart rate. However, they can cause diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, fatigue, anxiety, depression, insomnia, shortness of breath, and decreased libido.
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors like Vasoctec and Benazepril prevent the contraction of blood vessels. Some adverse side effects may include skin rash, swelling mouth, dry cough, headaches, dizziness, and diarrhea.
According to an article published in MedlinePlus by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, high blood pressure medicines may cause some common side effects, such as diarrhea or constipation, dizziness, erection problems, fatigue, nausea or vomiting, skin rash, and weight loss or gain without trying (32 ) .
Sometimes, a person may need to take more than one type of drug to manage blood pressure.
Although a single drug would often be used initially, two drugs could be started for stage 2 high blood pressure.
The AHA describes stage 2 hypertension as the stage when blood pressure consistently ranges at 140/90 mm Hg or higher (33 ) .
People taking medications for hypertension are also warned that mixing beta-blockers and angiotensin II receptor antagonists must only be done at the recommendation of a physician since the combination can lead to acute renal failure, as a 2013 study published in the Hypertension Research Journal suggests (34 ) .
Lifestyle Changes to Help Prevent High Blood Pressure
Using medications as prescribed and making lifestyle changes can enhance the quality of life and reduce the risk of hypertension, says the American Heart Association (AHA) (35 ) . These changes include:
- Eating a healthy diet that is low in fat, cholesterol, and salt to prevent further plaque build-up in the arteries.
- Exercising regularly to strengthen your heart. This activity could be something as simple as taking a 30-minute walk each day.
- Engaging in activities that help manage stress, such as meditation, journaling, making art, and seeing a therapist.
What to Know About CBD Oil
CBD oil contains CBD , or cannabidiol , as its primary active ingredient. Cannabidiol is associated with the previously mentioned benefits, including controlling blood pressure.
Comparing CBD and THC
CBD comes from cannabis and is naturally found in hemp plants. CBD is one of more than 100 cannabinoids that occur naturally within the plant. This compound is also commonly used to produce CBD hemp oil supplements.
Hemp seed oil is produced by extracting the oil from the seeds of the hemp plant itself. This oil is abundant in nutrients, such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, making it ideal for digestion. Although some people refer to “hemp extract” as hemp oil, the term “hemp oil” is synonymous with the term “hemp seed oil.”
Chemical compounds in cannabis, called cannabinoids, have shown various potential benefits by activating the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is involved in regulating a variety of functions including sleep, appetite, pain and immune system response (36 ) .
The body produces endocannabinoids, which are neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system.
The medicinal efficacy of cannabis can be optimized by incorporating the various cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes that are intrinsic components of cannabis plants.
CBD is non-psychoactive, contrasting with THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), another primary cannabinoid. THC is the most significant factor contributing to the high associated with using cannabis.
Consuming CBD without any THC does not produce those effects, which means that nearly everyone should be able to function as they usually do when taking CBD.
The lack of high allows users to continue with work, school, and other commitments without a decrease in performance. It also makes CBD oil safe to take , even for those who must pass regular or random drug tests.
CBD oil must not contain any THC for CBD to be non-psychoactive. Products containing CBD isolates do not have THC, while full-spectrum CBD products do.
Any product that one buys should also state the percentage of THC, information which one can also get from its certificate of analysis.
Other Health Benefits of CBD Oil
Here are some of the more critical benefits associated with cannabidiol .
CBD can help treat some of the worst types of seizure disorders that exist, including Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, both of which affect children and do not typically respond to traditional medications for treating seizures (37 ) .
Even the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognizes the ability of CBD to treat seizure disorders (38 ) . The first cannabis-derived medication it approved is Epidiolex, which treats these conditions. That medication contains CBD.
Treating Anxiety Disorders and Depression
Those who suffer from anxiety may experience relief with CBD. Results from a 2019 study published in the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry showed CBD’s anxiolytic effect on public speaking, and there is plenty of anecdotal evidence (39 ) .
In another study , which was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology , CBD was shown to attenuate oxidative stress, as well as cardiac dysfunction, fibrosis, and cell death in a mouse model (40 ) .
One of the most popular uses of CBD oil is its ability to reduce chronic pain . Animal studies, like the study published in the European Journal of Pain in 2016, show that topically applied CBD may theoretically help provide pain relief and reduce inflammation from arthritis (41 ) .
In another study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine , CBD was shown to reduce neuropathic pain (42 ) . This finding is crucial as it is one of the hardest types of pain to treat.
Some countries approve oral sprays like Sativex, which contains both CBD and THC (43 ) . This spray effectively treats the pain associated with multiple sclerosis (MS), a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system).
However, as Sativex and certain medications may trigger a drug interaction, experts advise consulting with a doctor first about all the prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications that are being taken before starting to use Sativex oral spray.
Protecting the Brain
CBD research , conducted on animal models and humans and published in the Surgical Neurology International in 2018, has shown numerous therapeutic properties for brain function and protection, both by its effect on the endocannabinoid system directly and by influencing endogenous cannabinoids (44 ) .
Researchers in a study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology noted a possible effect of CBD in improving the quality of life in patients with Parkinson’s disease without adverse outcomes (45 ) .
Studies analyzed in a 2017 review conducted by experts from the Western Sydney University in Australia also provided proof of principle for the therapeutic benefits that CBD and possibly CBD-THC combinations may provide (46 ) .
Data suggest that these combinations may help with the therapy of Alzheimer’s disease (named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer, who noted the symptoms in 1906).
May Help Fight Cancer
A 2010 study published by the American Association for Cancer Research showed a CBD-induced cell death of breast cancer cells, suggesting that the use of CBD oil may also suppress tumor growth (47 ) .
Research on cannabinoids published in the Future Medicinal Chemistry demonstrates that cannabinoids may also prove beneficial in certain types of cancers that are activated by chronic inflammation (48 ) .
In such instances, cannabinoids, as anti-inflammatory agents, can either directly prevent tumor growth or suppress inflammation .
Meanwhile, in-depth research on CBD yields mixed results.
In a recent study published in the Bosnian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences , researchers recognized the antitumor effects of cannabinoids in various cancer types (49 ) .
However, these antitumor effects of cannabinoids have to prevail over their known immunosuppressive effects, which can potentially promote the production or formation of tumors.
Recent studies are still limited when it comes to CBD and cancer prevention. Longitudinal studies of humans using specific CBD products, controlling for frequency of use and dosing are needed.
Overcoming Substance Abuse
There is some evidence that using CBD may help those with addiction overcome their substance abuse.
Published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment , results from a 2015 study conducted on animal models showed CBD reduced heroin-seeking behavior and reduced morphine dependence (50 ) .
The Legality of CBD Oil
The Cannabis sativa plant produces both hemp and marijuana. The difference between the two plants is the percentage of THC that they contain.
A cannabis plant that has 0.3 percent or less of THC content classifies as hemp, while a cannabis plant containing over 0.3 percent of THC is considered marijuana.
In the United States, cannabis-related laws are continually changing. Since marijuana and THC are on the list of controlled substances, they are currently prohibited under federal law (51 ) .
Meanwhile, confusion arises due to regulations that vary depending on whether the CBD is hemp-derived or extracted from marijuana. The former is legal at the federal level, while the latter is not.
Many states and Washington, D.C. have passed cannabis-related laws, making medical marijuana with high levels of THC legal. Still, marijuana may require a prescription from a licensed physician (52 ) .
Also, several states have made recreational use of marijuana and THC legal. One should be able to buy CBD in states where marijuana is legal for recreational or medical purposes.
NORML has information regarding state laws and penalties. (53 ) .
Individuals who possess cannabis-related products in a state where they are illegal or do not have a medical prescription in states where the products are legal for medical treatment could face legal penalties.
For a complete list of legal medical marijuana states and D.C., including the corresponding laws, fees, and possession limits, visit ProCon.org (54 ) .
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 75 million American adults, or 1 in 3 adults, have high blood pressure (55 ) . People with high blood pressure have a greater risk of heart disease and stroke, the leading causes of death in the United States.
CBD oil has shown to be a natural remedy to issues that could be linked to high blood pressure, such as stress and p a in (56) .
Meanwhile, using medications as prescribed and making lifestyle changes can enhance the quality of life and reduce the risk of hypertension, says the American Heart Association (AHA) (57 ) .
Still, before experimenting with different CBD products and dosages, speak to a doctor about a CBD treatment or using CBD oil for treating high blood pressure.
For anyone still looking for more information on CBD as a medical supplement, speaking with a cannabis doctor who specializes in the subject is the best course of action.
There is a wide range of products to choose from for those who are ready to decide which product and how they would like to take CBD oil to either address medical conditions or maintain general well-being.
A Beginner’s Guide to CBD: What Is It and How It Works
The supposed miracle elixir is popping up in everything — here’s what you need to know about the buzziest ingredient on the market.
CBD is everywhere these days: You can get it in dispensaries and drug stores or at your local bar and corner store. You can drink it, eat it, vape it, and slather it on your skin. One thing you can’t do? Get stoned on it. While CBD comes from the same plants that produce pot, it’s more about healing than about getting high.
The enthusiasts who have made CBD a $1 billion business claim it calms anxiety, eases pain, soothes sleep problems, and more. The theory behind how it works seems promising: CBD — which stands for cannabidiol, a compound found in cannabis plants — is similar to compounds the human body produces naturally, called endocannabinoids, which help regulate stress, sleep, metabolism, memory, inflammation, and immunity. Some think CBD is so similar to these naturally occurring molecules that it can work the same kind of stress-relieving, sleep-inducing, and pain-reducing magic.
But here’s the catch: There’s no definitive scientific evidence that shows exactly how CBD works — or even if it works at all — says Mark Wallace, MD, a professor of anesthesiology at the University of California San Diego, who’s been studying medical cannabis for more than 20 years. “There’s a lot of hype around CBD that’s completely unsubstantiated,” he says. “While there are a lot of theories, we don’t have the proof yet, because it’s been hard to study.” After all, until CBD was legalized on the federal level in 2018, if was difficult for researchers to get any samples to test out.
Before you see for yourself if CBD has healing super powers or is just a scam, here’s important info about how it may work, what researchers do and don’t understand, and what that all means for you.
First, here are some terms you should know before trying CBD.
How CBD might work
While scientists are still figuring out exactly how CBD works, the best theory is that it impacts the endocannabinoid system (ECS) — a complex cell-signaling system that’s thought to regulate a number of important functions in your body, such as stress, sleep, digestion, immunity, memory, and the release of hormones.
The ECS in a nutshell: There are cannabinoid receptors all over your body, though they’re primarily located in the central nervous system and brain (where they’re called CB1 receptors) and in the immune system and inflammatory cells (where they’re called CB2 receptors). Your body produces billions of natural chemicals called endocannabinoids every day, which bind to these receptors to help you do things like sleep, eat, remember where you put your purse, and start the healing process when you cut your finger. When these endocannabinoids are done with their various jobs, enzymes pop up to destroy them.
In the brain, these endocannabinoids act like neurotransmitters — they transport messages from one neuron to another. But rather than send messages with directives to do things, they actually slow down the brain’s signaling, says Mohini Ranganathan, MBBS, associate professor of psychiatry at Yale University and a CBD researcher. “When there’s too much neurotransmission going on — which you might experience as a racing mind, high anxiety, or even an increase in pain — endocannabinoids in the brain help pump the brakes,” says Ranganathan, which might explain why so many people swear by CBD’s anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory effects.
Another theory, adds Wallace, is that while a healthy ECS is able to make its own endocannabinoids to balance out the experience of anxiety or pain signals in the brain, some people don’t produce enough cannabinoids—or if they do, the enzymes destroy them before they have a chance to do their important work. “We think CBD binds to those CB2 receptors to inhibit the release of pain signaling,” says Wallace. Finally, it may be that that CBD allows the body’s naturally-produced cannabinoids to stay in the brain and body longer, prolonging their calming effect.
What can CBD actually do?
Here are the most common medical conditions that prompt people to try CBD, and what the science says so far:
Right now, the only CBD treatment that has strong enough evidence to become FDA-approved is for treating childhood epilepsy, particularly the cases that typically don’t respond to anti-seizure medications. In a number of studies, pure CBD administered orally via an oil was shown to reduce the number of seizures and in some cases, stop them altogether. In 2018, the FDA gave its stamp of approval to Epidiolex, the first cannabis-derived medicine for seizures.
There are only a handful of small studies showing that CBD can help you chill. One 2019 study of 72 adults with anxiety and poor sleep found that CBD helped alleviate both conditions within a month. Another recent study of 60 men and women found that while clonazepam (a medication used to treat panic disorders) consistently reduced anxiety better than both CBD and placebo, 300 mg of CBD was shown to significantly reduce anxiety compared to the placebo group. (Interestingly, the same wasn’t true when study participants were given 100 mg or 900 mg of CBD, proving more research is needed to figure out the right dosing, says Ranganathan.) However, other studies have found that CBD had no effect on anxiety, leaving experts in agreement that more research is needed understand how CBD might play a role in treating an anxious mind.
One study on animals published in the European Journal of Pain found that CBD applied topically could help lower pain and inflammation due to arthritis. Another study done on rodents found CBD injections prevent inflammatory and nerve pain. Yet the evidence is still pretty slim: When Australian researchers analyzed 104 studies, including more than 10,000 patients, they found that just 29% of patients experienced a 30% reduction in pain after using CBD — not much higher than the 26% who found the same relief using a placebo.
Preliminary research indicates that CBD may reduce some of the symptoms of schizophrenia without the side effects that come along with most anti-psychotic drugs. “However, the data is mixed,” says Ranganathan, who has authored studies that show CBD might have some benefit when it comes to treating this mental illness, as well as other studies that have found no effect at all.
But wait — is CBD even legal?
Until recently CBD products (with the exception of the FDA-approved epilepsy drug Epidolex) were lumped into the same category as heroin, according to federal drug laws. However, when Donald Trump signed the Farm Bill into law in December 2018, it legalized CBD that is derived from hemp and contains no more than 0.3% THC. CBD that comes from the marijuana plant is still illegal, since marijuana still has Schedule 1 drug status. Even the TSA recently announced it would allow people to fly with hemp products, including CBD produced within the regulations defined by the new law. “However, we’re still waiting for the USDA to create the final rules regarding the legality of hemp products, which means CBD isn’t yet legal in every state,” says Cristina Buccola, an attorney who specializes in the cannabis industry. “While we wait for federal-level guidance, you should check your own state’s laws. That said, any kind of enforcement we’re seeing as it relates to CBD has been targeted toward the manufacturers and distributors — not the customers.”
The side effects of CBD
It’s possible you will notice drowsiness, dry mouth, and lightheadedness when taking CBD. The FDA strongly advises against using CBD if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. The FDA also notes that CBD can cause liver injury and interact negatively with other medications, so it’s important you speak with your doctor before trying a CBD product.
The Dos and Don’ts of buying CBD
Ready to see if CBD can work its alleged magic on you? Proceed carefully with these tips:
✘ DON’T trust labels. A 2017 study published in the journal JAMA found that of 84 CBD products researchers bought online, 43% had more CBD than indicated, 26% had less, and some even had unexpected THC.
✘ DON’T hunt for bargains. “Good CBD is expensive,” says Wallace. “CBD manufacturers have to do a lot of extraction to get CBD oil from hemp plants, and while they’re getting more efficient at that process, it’s time-consuming and expensive.” That’s why most quality CBD products can cost upwards of $50 to $100 for a 1-ounce bottle of oil. However, thanks to the new Farm Bill that legalized hemp, CBD production will likely ramp up, which should drive the costs down.
✘ DON’T believe the hype about the ideal dose. There is absolutely no evidence proving you should take a specific amount for specific result (other than childhood epilepsy — the only medical condition for which CBD is FDA-approved). “We are working on dose studies and trying to figure out how, exactly, CBD is metabolized and absorbed,” says Ranganathan. “We simply don’t have definitive information yet.”
✔ DO look for a “Certificate of Analysis” (CoA) when you order. This document provides lab results of the actual CBD used in the product. If the company website doesn’t include a CoA, call and ask about it — but keep in mind that CoAs aren’t mandatory in every state.
✔ DO choose products made with organic American hemp, which makes it easier to find out if the soil it was grown in has been properly tested. (Hemp is a bio-accumulator, which means it absorbs everything in the soil — including herbicides, pesticides, metals, and fungus, says Wallace.) Better yet: Buy from a state such as California or Colorado that has some sort of cannabis control in place, adds Wallace; this offers another layer of protection against buying a contaminated product.
✔ DO talk to your doctor if you’re going to try CBD. While research on drug interactions with CBD is in its infancy, we do know it has the ability to either stimulate or inhibit the enzymes that metabolize other drugs you might be taking, which could impact the effectiveness of those medications. While the doses in consumer CBD products are typically so low that the risk is likely minimal, says Wallace, it’s still a good idea to talk to your doc about any supplement you’re taking — including CBD.
How to take CBD
Not sure where to even start when it comes to trying CBD? That’s understandable, says Wallace. “This is a very complicated therapy, because there are so many different modes of delivery.” Here, the different ways you can take CBD and how each works:
WHAT IT IS: CBD oils and tinctures mixed into chocolate bars, gummies, soft drinks, coffee, popcorn, and salad dressing.
HOW IT WORKS: When CBD travels through your digestive system, only a small percentage gets absorbed, says Ranganathan. “If you ingest 100 mg of CBD only about 5 mg may end up in your bloodstream,” says Ranganathan. While scientists are working on increasing bioavailability, there’s another issue to keep in mind: Different people absorb different amounts of the same dose of CBD. “Even the same person taking the same dose on two different days means it may be absorbed differently,” she adds.
WHAT IT IS: Oils and tinctures that are designed to be held under your tongue before swallowing.
HOW IT WORKS: The CBD passes through a permeable membrane under your tongue, bypassing your digestive system and going right into your bloodstream — meaning you will absorb more than you would by simply eating it. It’s not clear exactly how much CBD is absorbed, though, and a good amount of what you put in your mouth will still be swallowed, just as if you’d taken an edible.
WHAT IT IS: A CBD-infused cream you rub on sore areas like a bum back or arthritic hands.
HOW IT WORKS: A few animal studies have found that transdermal CBD products, which penetrate the skin deep enough to enter the bloodstream, can reduce inflammation and pain-related behavior in rats with arthritis. But we don’t yet know if this translates to humans. Some CBD creams include ingredients such as arnica, menthol, and camphor, which are known to provide an immediate cooling sensation on the skin that distracts from pain — meaning it might not be the CBD at all that soothes the pain in these products.
Should you vape CBD?
When you inhale CBD, it bypasses your digestive system and heads straight for your lung tissue. (One study found that about 25% of the dose of vaped CBD was absorbed, compared with about 5 percent of edible CBD.) But hearing about the dozens of deaths and hundreds of illnesses that have been attributed to vaping may have you rethinking that plan.
While most of the vaping-related deaths have been linked to bootleg products containing THC, that doesn’t mean vaping CBD is safe, says Daniele Piomelli, PhD, professor of anatomy and neurobiology at the University of California Irvine School of Medicine and director of the UCI Center for the Study of Cannabis. “The only info we have about CBD is from clinical trials where CBD is given orally,” he says. “And we haven’t studied the materials in the vaping gadgets. What happens after a certain amount of use at a certain temperature? Could those materials leak into what is vaped and inhaled?”
“We know even less about the health risks of vaping CBD than THC or any of the other marijuana products,” adds Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin, PhD, director of Yale University’s Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science. “We don’t know what concentrations of CBD come in most products and what they do to pulmonary and cardiovascular health.”Until we learn more, both the CDC and the American Medical Association have recommended that people avoid vaping entirely while the cause of vaping-related illnesses and deaths is determined.