People with heart disease are sometimes wary about taking CBD because they have heard that cannabis can cause an abnormal heart rate. And while it is true that the THC in cannabis could negatively affect your heart rate, CBD is actually very beneficial for a healthy heart. So where does the confusion come from? And how will taking CBD affect your heart rate? This article will explore the effects of cannabis on your heart.
What happens to your heart when you take THC?
Cannabinoids like THC affect your whole body, and your heart is no exception. However, the scientific community is still unsure about how exactly cannabis affects the heart rate or other risk factors of heart attacks.
For example, this 2017 review of studies tell us that cannabis consumption can cause arrhythmia (abnormal heart rate), can lead to heart attacks and strokes, and could even cause sudden death from heart failure. However, the researchers behind the study mention this may be due to the fact that cannabis users often smoke tobacco as well.
Another review of studies, published a year later in the Annals of Internal Medicine, disagreed with the findings of the first. Its authors declared there wasn’t enough credible information to claim that cannabis use could cause heart attacks or stroke.
One of the problems with studies on cannabis is that they are based on “cannabis use,” which is not a very precise measure. Some cannabis is very high in THC, but other strains are more balanced or contain mainly CBD. Moreover, cannabis users are generally more prone to smoking tobacco. So it could be that those using cannabis are more prone to heart disease because they are first and foremost tobacco smokers.
Studies on CBD show that it can actually be very beneficial for your heart health. This is a sign that high THC levels or tobacco may be to blame for these negative findings, rather than the cannabis plant itself.
What happens to your heart when you take CBD?
Unlike THC, CBD has never been shown to increase heart rate or cause irregular heartbeats. Instead, it’s one of the most promising substances in the treatment of heart disease today.
For starters, CBD can reduce high blood pressure, which is one of the main factors behind heart disease. A 2017 study found that a single dose of CBD significantly lowered the blood pressure of healthy volunteers.
CBD could also fight heart disease by preventing oxidative stress and inflammation. A 2010 study found that mice who were given CBD had a healthier heart than those in the control group, and suffered from fewer instances of cardiac dysfunction.
So while CBD may not either slow down or speed up your heart rate, it can still do a lot for the health of your heart. To find out more about using CBD to prevent and treat heart disease, you can read our complete guide here.
CBD products that contain trace amounts of THC (less than 0.3%) are now legal on a federal level in the United States. However, they are not FDA-approved, and may still be illegal in certain states. Check your local laws before making a purchase.
Can CBD cause an irregular heartbeat?
So far, there haven’t been any studies showing that CBD causes an irregular heartbeat. In fact, scientists have even found that the opposite was true: CBD could regulate your heartbeat.
In a 2010 study, a group of scientists observed the effects of CBD on rats with arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat). They found that CBD brought the rats’ heart rate closer to normal. It even seemed to protect the rats from infarcts, which are lesions caused by tissue death. After a coronary artery occlusion, the rats who had taken CBD suffered from less powerful infarcts.
The researchers concluded that CBD had cardioprotective properties and reduced arrhythmia. More studies are still needed to determine whether CBD could have the same effects on people, but these findings are already promising.
Does CBD oil affect heart medications?
Although CBD has many benefits for your heart, it could be dangerous to take for some. This is because CBD can have negative interactions with other drugs. In other words, taking CBD could mean that other forms of medicine you are taking function less well, or even become toxic.
The best way to find out how CBD could affect any medication you are taking is to consult with your physician. They will be able to tell you whether CBD is safe for you to take.
Although cannabis consumption has been associated with increased heart rate, we don’t have any reason to believe that CBD has the same effects. In fact, CBD could be a very helpful substance for those with tachycardia (fast heart rate) because it lowers blood pressure and reduces inflammation and oxidative stress in the heart. But remember, if you’re taking any form of cardiac medication, you should never take CBD without consulting with a doctor first.
Cannabis and the heart
2017 review of studies on the effects of cannabis on heart health
2018 review of studies on marijuana use and heart disease
CBD and the heart
2010 study on the effects of CBD on mice with heart disease
2017 study on the effects of CBD on hypertension
2012 review of studies on the potential of CBD for cardiovascular diseases
2010 study on the effects of CBD on rats with arrhythmia
Safety of CBD and potential drug interactions
2017 study on the safety and side effects of CBD
2019 review of potential interactions between cannabinoids and synthetic drugs