High blood pressure is a leading cause of and contributor to death worldwide. It causes a variety of medical problems, including cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death in the United States. Even with the risk of death and increase in other health problems associated with high blood pressure, the number of people with this serious medical condition has been increasing steadily over the last several decades. As the problem reaches epidemic proportions, new solutions are needed to successfully treat the problem and reduce the impact of this worldwide health risk. Some patients believe that medical marijuana is the answer. To understand how marijuana can treat high blood pressure you must understand the condition, the current medical treatments for it, and how medical marijuana card online can be used to lower blood pressure.
What is High Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is a term used to describe the measurement of the force of the blood moving through the body’s circulatory system. When blood pressure reaches the high range, it can be indicative of medical issues, and it puts an individual at a greater risk for cardiovascular problems and other serious health concerns like stroke and heart failure. According to a global study reported on by Medical News Today, high blood pressure is one of the greatest risk factors for death worldwide. The study also uncovered an unsettling increase in the number of deaths caused by high blood pressure in recent years. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension or HBP, contributes to many of the leading causes of death. It increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, vision loss, heart attack, heart failure, kidney disease, kidney failure, sexual dysfunction, peripheral artery disease, angina, and a variety of other health problems.
One of the biggest problems with HBP is its lack of symptoms. The American Heart Association states that blood pressure problems often go undiagnosed and may not cause any symptoms until they reach the level of a hypertensive crisis or other medical emergencies. The signs of high blood pressure include:
- Blood pressure reading above 140 systolic or 90 diastolic
- May have no obvious symptoms
- Facial flushing
- Blood spots in eyes
The Center for Disease Control estimates that one in three or roughly 75 million adults in the United States has high blood pressure. Their statistics show that more than 360,000 deaths were caused by high blood pressure and related factors in the U.S. alone in 2013. The number of deaths and the number of Americans with HBP have increased steadily with current numbers reaching an all-time high.
Current Treatments for High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is considered a condition that requires treatment because of its likelihood of it causing serious medical problems up to and including death. A standard treatment plan for high blood pressure involves a multi-pronged approach including medical options and lifestyle changes. In many cases, multiple prescription medications are recommended to properly treat HBP. This can include diuretics, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, and various types of muscle relaxers designed to target the cardiovascular system. For many patients with high blood pressure, a future full of a variety of prescription medications and their associated costs is the only recognized medical treatment for their condition.
Additional therapies are recommended in conjunction with traditional prescription medications. The American Heart Association suggests that healthy lifestyle changes are necessary to increase the success of medical treatment plans. This includes eating a well-balanced diet, reducing sodium or salt intake, limiting alcohol, getting regular exercise, and reaching or maintaining a healthy weight. While these lifestyle changes may be difficult, they are a fundamental part of bringing blood pressure within a healthy range. In fact, most patients using medications alone do not have their high blood pressure controlled. This indicates that lifestyle factors may play a large role in blood pressure and the success of any treatment for HBP or hypertension.
Does Marijuana Help with High Blood Pressure?
As with many other conditions, the research into marijuana and its potential effect on high blood pressure has been limited by current federal regulations. Even with limited research, several studies have helped answer the question – how does marijuana affect blood pressure? The results have been promising, with several studies showing marijuana or its key components helping to reduce blood pressure. In fact, medical marijuana card online is widely recognized for being able to reduce blood pressure, with lowered blood pressure listed as a potential side effect of cannabis use.
- Blood pressure increases were seen in study participants that abstained from using cannabis when compared with lower blood pressure readings during periods of cannabis use in a study reviewed and approved by the John Hopkins Medicine Institutional Review Board.
- A Canadian study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology determined that moderate levels of THC, which is a key cannabinoid found in marijuana, were capable of reducing blood pressure in hypertensive lab rats.
- A University of Houston study also reported a marked decrease in blood pressure when THC was administered intravenously. Their research indicated that marijuana works within the sympathetic nervous system to control blood pressure and heart rate.
To fully understand the connection between marijuana and high blood pressure, research must also determine the answer to another key question – can marijuana raise your blood pressure? Some reports of blood pressure increases or cardiovascular issues after marijuana use have been observed, but the science suggests that any blood pressure increase experienced during or after cannabis use is mitigated with continued use. Prolonged, regular use was shown to have the most significant and long-lasting decrease in blood pressure.
Marijuana and Blood Pressure Treatment Plans
Current research and reports from individual cannabis users indicate that adding marijuana as part of a blood pressure treatment plan could help lower blood pressure. Marijuana offers a variety of benefits, including reducing stress, improving sleep quality and eliminating insomnia, and offering pain-relief for chronic and neurological pain conditions. With continued use, these factors could be kept under control, which could offer a long-term improvement in blood pressure numbers. Several factors should be considered when ingesting or smoking marijuana and high blood pressure are combined. First, THC was the primary component of cannabis tested in blood pressure studies, suggesting that a high-THC strain may be the most beneficial for lowering blood pressure. Inhalation or vaporizing remains the most widely-recognized and effective way to dose with medical marijuana, but other options are available, including edibles, oils, and tinctures.
For the greatest success when including medical marijuana card online as part of a blood pressure treatment plan, consistency is key. Several of the above-mentioned research studies found, when trying to determine does marijuana lower blood pressure, that some individuals may see an initial increase in heart rate when using cannabis for first few times. Although heart rate and blood pressure are separate cardiovascular measurements, increases in heart rate can cause increases in blood pressure. The opposite was seen, however, with prolonged use. Prolonged administration was recognized as offering the most long-term benefit for blood pressure numbers and provided the greatest decreases in blood pressure. It is also important to note that continuing to implement and stick to the healthy lifestyle changes for improving blood pressure recommended by the American Heart Association and Center for Disease Control.
Why are People Turning to Medical Marijuana for High Blood Pressure?
Even before more recent research began to ask is marijuana good for blood pressure, many patients were already using it as part of their treatment plan. This occurs for a variety of reasons. The most startling reason is that over 50% of people with high blood pressure do not have their condition under control with current medical treatments. This is key concern because of the dangers of high blood pressure, the increased risk of death from the condition, and the detriment to overall health. Not only are current medications not effective for everyone, but many of these prescriptions carry a risk of negative side effects. Common side effects of blood pressure medications include problems ranging from diarrhea and nausea to dizziness and headache and can even increase feelings of nervousness. For many, marijuana’s effectiveness and the problems associated with current treatments have been enough to make the switch to cannabis for high blood pressure.
High blood pressure is a very serious health risk affecting a large percentage of the population across the globe. It carries an increased risk of numerous medical problems and is considered a leading cause of death. Current medical treatments focus on prescription pills to treat the problem, but more than half of patients with HBP are unable to control it with these treatment options. Studies conducted to determine how marijuana and one of its primary components affect blood pressure have shown that it can aid in reducing blood pressure and that with regular use it could contribute to keeping blood pressure numbers under control. This benefit has many patients turning to medical marijuana to treat their blood pressure.
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