Does CBD Oil Raise Your Heart Rate

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Dr. Danial Schecter said marijuana can have unwanted effects on the cardiovascular system. The cannabidiol CBD, which performs an opposing function to the element THC that is behind cannabis’ psychoactive effect, is growing in popularity across the globe. It is now used relatively widely to treat anxiety and other disorders, and is available in high-street stores throughout the UK. Scientific research has e Marijuana is legal for medical use in more than half of the U.S. states. Although the cannabis plant has been used for thousands of years, reliable scientific research on its medical benefits and potential risks has lagged behind.

Expert cautions people with heart problems about using cannabis

Cannabis can have troublesome effects on people with unstable heart conditions, says physician

Dr. Danial Schecter said marijuana can have unwanted effects on the cardiovascular system. (Submitted)

A medical cannabis expert is cautioning people with heart problems about using marijuana.

Dr. Danial Schecter is one of the keynote speakers at a cardiology symposium today in Sydney, N.S.

Schecter is the co-founder of the Cannabinoid Medical Clinic, which has 20 Canabo Medical Clinic locations across Canada, including one in Halifax.

He said although cannabis is generally safe, it does have side-effects, which have been largely overlooked as Canada moves to legalize its recreational use.

“Cannabis activists have almost taken over the conversation around cannabis, and their message is that cannabis is a harmless drug, it’s never killed anyone in the 5,000 years people have been using it.”

Unwanted side-effects

Schecter, who also holds a fellowship in hospital medicine and is an active hospitalist at the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre in Barrie, Ont., suggests cannabis can have troublesome effects on people with unstable heart conditions.

“It can cause what we call tachycardia, which is an increase in your heart rate. It can also cause peripheral vasodilation, which means your veins and your arteries can dilate and drop your blood pressure,” said Schecter.

“And that means that people who are using cannabis with unstable heart diseases, such as unstable angina or at high risk of having a heart attack or stroke, should really use cannabis with caution.”

Schecter said people with unstable heart diseases or who are at high risk of having a heart attack or stroke should be careful about using cannabis. (Evan Mitsui/CBCNews)

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Schecter said like all drugs, cannabis also can produce unwanted side-effects when combined with other medications or alcohol. His presentation is intended to flag potential risks for cardiologists and other medical professionals attending the Sydney event.

Schecter noted that it’s the THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, in cannabis that produces both the high associated with marijuana and the negative side-effects.

“So if people consume CBD [cannabidiol]-only products, or oils, then they don’t get the same cardiovascular effects, or the other unwanted side-effects.”

Does CBD Lower Resting Heart Rate?

The cannabidiol CBD, which performs an opposing function to the element THC that is behind cannabis’ psychoactive effect, is growing in popularity across the globe.

It is now used relatively widely to treat anxiety and other disorders, and is available in high-street stores throughout the UK.

Scientific research has established that CBD has many benefits, including lowering blood pressure and risk of suffering a stroke.

But there are several claims about other potential health reasons to take the product, and in some circles it has been suggested that the compound can decrease resting heart rate, so we’ve taken a look at the findings of studies over the years.

There’s certainly evidence that CBD can lower resting heart rate in stressful conditions, although it’s unclear if it has the same effect in non stressful circumstances or normal day-to-day life.

The research into this area goes back over a decade, with a study in 2009 finding that rats’ heart rate and blood pressure was decreased when they were exposed to a stressful situation and had been given a dose of CBD.

Then, two years later, researchers carried out a human study . They gave participants either a large dose of CBD or a placebo before a public-speaking event, and found that the group given CBD had lower blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety levels.

However, a later study in 2017 found that CBD actually raised the resting heart rate of healthy males in normal conditions despite lowering blood pressure.

So although studies do indicate that CBD causes heart rate to remain lower when individuals are exposed to stressors, the evidence suggests it fails to decrease resting heart rate. Bear this in mind when you see claims the product can reduce heart rate.

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Marijuana and heart health: What you need to know

Access to marijuana is growing, but marijuana benefits and its risks have not been carefully studied.

In many states in this country, you can legally use marijuana. Smoking is the fastest way to feel the effects of marijuana, which is derived from the Cannabis sativa plant. Yet marijuana smoke contains many of the same toxins, irritants, and carcinogens found in cigarette smoke — a known contributor to heart disease as well as cancer.

Marijuana cultivation and use dates back some 6,000 years. However, the cardiovascular and other health effects of cannabis aren’t well studied. That’s partly because under federal law, cannabis is a Schedule I substance, meaning it has “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” That designation places numerous restrictions on researchers, making it difficult to carry out rigorous research on marijuana.

As a result, everything we’re told about what marijuana does or doesn’t do should be viewed with a certain amount of caution. This holds equally true for the risks as well as the benefits.

Pot and pain

Some of the evidence supporting the medical use of marijuana is marijuana’s benefits for managing chronic pain. Cannabinoid compounds (see “Cannabis 101”) interact with receptors in nerve cells to slow down pain impulses and ease discomfort. Cannabinoids also have been shown to be effective in quelling nausea and vomiting. In addition, marijuana is a powerful appetite inducer. The combination of these attributes makes marijuana a therapeutic option for people coping with the side effects of chemotherapy and others who have unintended weight loss. However, in conditions where gaining extra weight might exacerbate existing health problems, such as diabetes, appetite stimulation would be counterproductive.

Cardiovascular effects

One of the few things scientists know for sure about marijuana and cardiovascular health is that people with established heart disease who are under stress develop chest pain more quickly if they have been smoking marijuana than they would have otherwise. This is because of complex effects cannabinoids have on the cardiovascular system, including raising resting heart rate, dilating blood vessels, and making the heart pump harder. Research suggests that the risk of heart attack is several times higher in the hour after smoking marijuana than it would be normally.

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While this does not pose a significant threat to people who have minimal cardiovascular risk, it should be a red flag for anyone with a history of heart disease. Although the evidence is weaker, there are also links to a higher risk of atrial fibrillation or ischemic stroke immediately following marijuana use. Consistent with these links, studies also suggest that marijuana smoking may increase the long-term death rate among heart attack survivors.

Questions remain on marijuana’s benefits and risks

Most of the evidence linking marijuana to heart attack and stroke is based on reports from people who smoked it. So, it’s hard to separate the effects of cannabinoid compounds on the cardiovascular system from the hazards posed by the irritants and carcinogens contained in the smoke. Because cannabis smoke is known to cause airway inflammation, wheezing, and chest tightness, people with lung diseases should not smoke it. People with mental health disorders or at risk of addiction should carefully consider the potential harms prior to using marijuana.

Cannabis 101

The cannabis plant contains more than 100 unique chemical components classified as cannabinoids. These are the active ingredients that bind to specific receptors in the brain and other parts of the body. The two most prevalent types are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is primarily responsible for the mind-altering properties sought out by recreational users, and cannabidiol (CBD), which has no psychoactive effect.

The magnitude of marijuana’s psychoactive effect depends on the THC level in the particular strain of plant, which parts of the plant are used, and the route through which the drug enters the body. Legalization in many states has led to the breeding of strains that are three to seven times more potent than those available three decades ago.

The impact of smoked or inhaled marijuana is generally felt within a few minutes and lasts two to four hours. Marijuana ingested in food or beverages kicks in more slowly and lasts longer.

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