Medical Research

CBD and the Heart Rate

Written by Petar Petrov

With the cardiovascular system being one of the most complex mechanisms in our body, and heart problems being the leading cause of death, claims about cardiovascular benefits shouldn’t be made lightly. This is particularly true when it comes to cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD), which are still in very infant stages of their scientific and medicinal research. Nevertheless, there’s a reason to believe that CBD can positively, be it mildly, affect your heart rate, both directly and indirectly.

 

Indirect

Stress is infamous for being the heart’s arch-nemesis. CBD, on the other hand, became famous especially as stress antidote, one that comes without any serious adverse effects. By the logic of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” CBD is a great ally in the fight against heart problems, even if it operates relatively indirectly.
Speaking of logic and combatants, there’s another side note worth mentioning: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the major psychotropic cannabinoid of cannabis, is known for increasing the heart rate potentially causing arrythmia in predisposed people.
CBD is THC’s counterpoint, softening its effects.

 

Direct

Transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V, member 1 (TRPV1) is one of a group of channels whose physiological functions play an important role in the cardiovascular system and its diseases.
CBD works as a desensitizer of TRPV1 and, in doing so, it produces a mildly calming effect on the heart and reduces metabolic rates of heart muscles. [1]

Interestingly in a crossover, placebo-controlled, double-blind study on nine healthy volunteers, a single dose of 600 mg of CBD reduced blood pressure while increasing heart rate, especially during the first hour after administration. This was largely attributed to the high dosage. [2]

Perhaps more noteworthy is that CBD’s ability to restore balance may translate into a decreased heart rate variability. Spikes in the heart rate because of stressors can be detrimental, so this can have major implications.

For instance, a study on rats, exposed to acute restraint stress, found CBD to attenuate “acute autonomic responses to stress and its delayed emotional consequences by facilitating 5-HT1A receptor-mediated neurotransmission.” [3]

Of course, studies on rats don’t hold the same weight as those on humans. Research from the latter type on CBD’s influence on heart rate are scarce. Nevertheless, there is one study of 2021, concluding that “acute CBD ingestion may have a modest influence on autonomic regulation of heart.” [4]

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that CBD has displayed some ability to reduce blockages and plaques in the cardiovascular system, thus improving blood flow [5].

 

The Bottom Line

There are some grounds  to believe that CBD can benefit the heart rate and the cardiovascular system as a whole, especially considering its negligeable risks of side effects. CBD can be a valuable adjunct therapy that, coordinated with a doctor, can be a potential preventative measure promoting health and the overall wellbeing.

References:

[1] Alfulaij et al, Cannabinoids, the Heart of the Matter, Journal of the American Heart Association, Vol. 7, No. 14; https://doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.118.009099 [Journal Impact Factor = 5.501] [ Times cited = 33]

 

[2] Jadoon et al, A single dose of cannabidiol reduces blood pressure in healthy volunteers in a randomized crossover study, JCI Insight. 2017 Jun 15; 2(12); doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.93760 [Journal Impact Factor = 8.315] [Times Cited = 97]

 

[3] Resstel et al, 5-HT1A receptors are involved in the cannabidiol-induced attenuation of behavioural and cardiovascular responses to acute restraint stress in rats, 24 December 2008, British Journal of Pharmacology, Volume 156, Issue 1; doi: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2008.00046.x [Journal Impact Factor = 8.739] [Times Cited = 270]

 

[4] Williams et al, Comparison of Five Oral Cannabidiol Preparations in Adult Humans: Pharmacokinetics, Body Composition, and Heart Rate Variability, Pharmaceuticals 202114(1),35, 6; doi: 10.3390/ph14010035 [Journal Impact Factor = 5.677] [Times Cited = 8]

 

[5] Gonca and Darici, The Effect of Cannabidiol on Ischemia/Reperfusion-Induced Ventricular Arrhythmias: The Role of Adenosine A1 Receptors, Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology and Therapeutics; doi: 10.1177/1074248414532013 [Journal Impact Factor = 2.457] [Times Cited = 63]

 

Image: https://www.bigstockphoto.com/image-454436135/stock-photo-close-up-of-plastic-heart-model-in-hospital%2C-check-up-your-heart%2C-professional-diagnostic-make-appo

About the author

Petar Petrov

Petar is a freelance writer and copywriter, covering culture, art, society, and anything in-between that makes for a nice story. And as it so happens, cannabis is a great element to add to each of those conversations.

Leave a Comment