The cardiovascular system plays a vital physiological role in the body. Comprising the heart, lungs, and blood vessels, this system is responsible for the critical task of transporting nutrients, hormones, and oxygen to cells via the bloodstream. It also disposes of waste products, such as carbon dioxide and nitrogenous waste via the same mechanisms.

Due to the importance of the cardiovascular system, it’s quite obvious that any malfunctioning or illnesses involving this system could have catastrophic consequences. It just so happens that diseases of the cardiovascular system are among the leading causes of death worldwide. Conditions within this category include chronic rheumatic heart diseases, hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, and diseases of the arteries, arterioles, and capillaries.

There are numerous causes of cardiovascular diseases, with lifestyle being a major factor. A healthy diet and frequent exercise are certainly effective ways to prevent such a condition from occurring.

Another solution to preventing and possibly treating cardiovascular diseases may lie within the cannabis plant. Research is proving CBD to be an effective therapeutic agent for a whole host of health conditions, including cardiovascular diseases. Evidence suggests that CBD is beneficial to the cardiovascular system, with many studies pointing towards the cannabinoid’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidative effects as the key to its therapeutic action.

CBD, THE VASCULAR SYSTEM, AND STRESS

Cannabinoids have been shown to sustain a direct effect upon the vascular system. Here, CBD is capable of inducing vasorelaxation, or a reduction in the tension of blood vessel walls.

One of the cardiovascular benefits of CBD is its ability to reduce resting blood pressure, as well as blood pressure when faced with stressful stimuli. A 2017 paper published within the journal JCL Insight investigated the blood pressure-lowering effects of CBD on humans. Nine healthy male volunteers participated in the study and were either given 600mg of CBD or a placebo.

The results showed that CBD reduced resting systolic blood pressure (the maximum arterial blood pressure during heart contraction) and reduced stroke volume (volume of blood pumped per beat). These results have important implications considering that high blood pressure is a contributing factor to ischaemic heart disease.

Heart Problems And How CBD Can Help

STRESS AND ANXIETY

The study also demonstrated that CBD is capable of reducing the blood pressure response to stress. Although stress is often perceived as a mental health issue, it can have profound physiological consequences in the long run. Long-term stress is actually associated with the development of cardiovascular disease. Such stress may derive from factors such as social isolation, low socio-economic status, work life, and anxiety.

One way in which stress may contribute to cardiovascular disease is by causing an elevation in blood pressure. The chronic release of stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, may also be contributing factors. Research has shown that stress can change the way blood coagulates, increasing the risk of heart attack.

A 2012 research paper points towards CBD’s anti-anxiety effects. Because anxiety is a contributing factor to stress, and stress lends towards cardiovascular diseases, this could be another mechanism by which CBD benefits the cardiovascular system.

MYOCARDITIS

Myocarditis is defined by inflammation of the myocardium, the muscular tissue of the heart. The British Heart Foundation reports that the condition is not induced by lifestyle factors including smoking and diet. The foundation also states that there are no medical treatments available to prevent the condition from occurring. Many people who experience the condition recover with minimal or no complications. However, in some cases the inflammation becomes so bad that it can damage the heart.

The main causes of myocarditis are viral, bacterial, and fungal infections, and autoimmune diseases. The symptoms of the condition can manifest as pain/tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, flu-like symptoms, and heart palpitations.

Interesting research has shown that CBD might be a potential future therapeutic for myocarditis. A 2016 paper published within the journal Molecular Medicine investigated the effects of CBD on myocardial inflammation, remodelling, and dysfunction in animal models of experimental autoimmune myocarditis.

The results of the study show that CBD treatment markedly reduced autoimmune myocarditis and also improved myocardial dysfunction and heart failure. CBD achieved these outcomes largely because of its anti-inflammatory and antifibrotic effects. The authors of the study concluded that CBD has tremendous potential in the therapy of myocarditis.

Myocarditis

MYOCARDIAL ISCHAEMIA AND ARRHYTHMIA

Ischaemia is defined as the inadequate supply of blood to an organ or part of the body, especially the heart muscles. When it comes to the heart, ischaemia can cause arrhythmia, or an irregular heartbeat. A slower than normal heartbeat is known as bradycardia, and a faster as normal heartbeat is known as tachycardia. An irregular heartbeat is referred to as a flutter or fibrillation.

Because blood carries essential nutrients and oxygen to cells, the lack of it can result in cell death, or necrosis. When ischaemia leads to a lack of blood to the heart, this can cause an infarct, a small localised area of dead tissues resulting from the lack of blood supply.

CBD appears to offer cardioprotective effects when it comes to ischaemia and lack of blood flow to the heart. A paper published within the British Journal of Pharmacology found that acute administration of CBD in vivo suppresses ischaemia-induced cardiac arrhythmias and reduces infarct size when administered at reperfusion (therapies that restore blood flow).

As well as producing tissue-sparing effects by reducing infarct size, CBD also exhibits antiarrhythmic effects.

CBD AND STROKE

Stroke is a serious health condition that falls into the domain of cardiovascular conditions. It arises when the blood supply to areas of the brain is obstructed. The sooner an individual receives treatment for a stroke, the less damage occurs. This is because the longer the blood supply is cut off, the longer brain regions go without vital oxygen and nutrients. This can result in serious brain damage and even death.

There are two main causes of strokes. Ischaemic stroke is when blood supply ceases due to a blood clot blocking the flow. Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel supplying the brain bursts.

A scientific publication within the journal Pharmaceuticals (Basel) discusses the therapeutic potential of CBD for ischaemic stroke. The research demonstrates CBD’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, and neuroprotective qualities. The cannabinoid has potent cerebroprotective action that is long-lasting and antioxidative, and therefore presents as a potential future therapeutic in the treatment of ischaemic stroke.

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