Let’s start by taking a look at the condition in question. Hypertension is a serious chronic condition that tackles the increase of arterial blood pressure. This forces the heart to work faster and under more stress than usual. Hypertension can lead to numerous dangerous diseases. Atherosclerosis, stroke, and aortic aneurysm are just some of the most common examples. One-third of the American population suffers from hypertension. If left untreated, it can also lead to further heart disease and failure, vascular disease, kidney failure and even heart attacks.

Hypertension is the most significant cause of premature death throughout the world. Even though it that can be prevented, many people don’t give it enough importance.


The endocannabinoid system is a very intriguing one. This system is comprised of receptors found throughout the body that react in the presence of cannabinoids. This system plays a role in many important bodily functions. One study[1] showed that amongst these is the regulation of the cardiovascular system.

This gives reason to believe that cannabis interacts with the heart. As it is one of our most significant organs, it’s crucial that we give great care to how our favourite plant reacts with it.

cannabis reducing hypertension


After injecting rat subjects with THC, researchers[2] found that blood pressure decreased significantly straight after. The same results were achieved in a second study[3].

Interestingly enough, it has been found that when first consuming cannabis, there is an increase in blood pressure and heart rate. Next time you blaze up, be sure to put your hand against your chest and you’ll see this. But a quick tolerance is developed over the course of a couple of weeks. After repeat use, cannabis actually starts to lower both heart rate and blood pressure. It seems that cannabis can have a stressful introduction to the body. Yet, after the body’s systems become used to the chemical changes, cannabinoids can help to influence a series of functions.

All of this makes sense when you look deeper into cannabinoids. Cannabis has a vasodilatory effect. This means that veins expand when you’re high. A clear sign is when you look into someone’s eyes after they have consumed cannabis. The veins expand, allowing them to carry more blood at the same time. This is what causes the classic, red “stoner eyes.”

With the expansion of the veins, it’s normal that the heart has to beat faster. It must compensate for less pressure available in the arteries. This is both good and bad. The harm is supposedly fairly insignificant. At very least, the benefits brought on by cannabis’ hypotensive effect greatly outweigh the cons. But further research is necessary.

All research is conducted under very specific conditions. We need additional studies with diverse samples that can further assess more specific variables. Factors like consumption method, quantity, and frequency must be taken into account. We simply don’t have all the information yet. For individuals suffering from hypertension, alternative methods to smoking are surely advisable.

red eyes cannabis hypertension


Nowadays, especially online, you’ll find information on both sides of every debate. A UC San Francisco longitudinal Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study[4] analysed data from more than 3,500 African American and Caucasian adults for 15 years. It concluded that, in the long-term, there is no causal link between the increased risk of heart attacks or stroke and cannabis consumption.

But there is also a Harvard Medical School study[5] that showed that high-risk populations like seniors display less positive results. Straight after consumption, these populations show increased odds of heart attacks. These odds return to normal just after two hours. But hey, it’s still stressful to be an 80-year-old man scared of a heart attack while you’re high.

Furthermore, most human studies don’t take into account that many cannabis consumers partake in other habits. Marijuana is often paired with alcohol, tobacco, or even other stimulants. And if this wasn’t enough, most studies lack longitudinal research. Most information out there is based on short-term results and focuses on THC. Until recently, studies have largely disregarded other cannabinoids like CBD. Studying isolated THC can only lead to results about it, not the entire cannabis plant as a whole.

If anything, what we can conclude from this issue and many others like it is that we need more cannabis research. With the global spread of cannabis legalization and decriminalisation, soon we’ll be seeing plants all around the world without fully understanding them. Individuals should stay informed so they can peacefully enjoy their cannabis routines, knowing how the substance is affecting them. For now, we’ll say cannabis influences our bodies in a lot of ways and our circulatory system is no exception to this influence. Beyond this, only time and study will reveal further truths about this still-mysterious plant.

External Resources:
  1. Endocannabinoids Acting at Cannabinoid-1 Receptors Regulate Cardiovascular Function in Hypertension http://circ.ahajournals.org
  2. Reduttion by A9- tetrahydrocannabinol in the blood pressure of hypertensive rats bearing regenerated adrenal glands http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com
  3. Role of the central autonomic nervous system in the hypotension and bradycardia induced by (‐)‐Δ9‐trans‐THC http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com
  4. Marijuana use, diet, body mass index, and cardiovascular risk factors (from the CARDIA study). - PubMed - NCBI https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  5. Health News | Latest Medical, Nutrition, Fitness News - ABC News - ABC News http://abcnews.go.com
This content is for educational purposes only. The information provided is derived from research gathered from external sources.

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