Cannabis has been shown to reduce high blood pressure in older adults with hypertension, according to a new study published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine. The study was conducted by researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and Soroka University Medical Center in Israel, and their results were published on January 20, 2021.
In the study, 26 patients with hypertension who were over the age of 60 were monitored using a variety of different methods, including ECG, blood tests, anthropometric measurements, and blood pressure checks. Patients were observed for 3 months as they started a new cannabis prescription, and data was also collected from them before they began the study as well.
The researchers concluded that cannabis use significantly reduced “systolic” and “diastolic” blood pressure values with the lowest measurements occurring at about 3 hours after use.
The team noted in the abstract of the study that “At 3 months follow-up, the mean 24-hours systolic and diastolic blood pressures were reduced by 5.0 mmHg and 4.5 mmHg, respectively (p<0.001 for both),” and “The proportion of normal dippers changed from 27.3% before treatment to 45.5% afterward.”
Dr. Ran Abuhasira of the BGU-Soroka Cannabis Clinical Research Institute, one of the lead researchers on the project, says that this was one of the first studies to focus on this specific issue.
"Older adults are the fastest growing group of medical cannabis users, yet evidence on cardiovascular safety for this population is scarce. This study is part of our ongoing effort to provide clinical research on the actual physiological effects of cannabis over time," Abuhasira said in a press release.
Other researchers who participated in the study include professors Victor Novack, Yosef Haviv, Merav Leiba, Adi Leiba, and Dr. Larisa Ryvo.
According to CDC figures published in 2018, nearly half a million deaths in the United States included hypertension as a primary or contributing cause. Hypertension is also correlated with a higher risk of heart disease and stroke. It is estimated that 108 million people in the US, nearly half of the adults in the country, have hypertension or are taking medication for the condition.
The most popular medications for hypertension currently on the market are notorious for causing a long list of side effects, including headache, dizziness, gastrointestinal issues, and even heart problems. This is because these medications often disrupt hormones or otherwise change a patient’s body chemistry in ways that could be potentially dangerous.
These types of side effects are not uncommon, which is why medical cannabis is becoming an increasingly popular alternative for people who aren’t getting the help they need from conventional medications, or those who are unable to cope with the side effects.
It is important to remember that it can be dangerous to stop taking hypertension medications abruptly without the guidance of a doctor, even if you are finding more relief with cannabis. Due to the changes that some of these medications cause in the body, it is often necessary to slowly reduce your dosage over time before stopping entirely.