The cardiovascular system (also called the circulatory system) is made up of the heart, blood vessels, and approximately five liters of blood. There are two circuits (loops) that the blood makes through the body – a pulmonary circuit through the lungs and a systemic circuit through the rest of the body. Cardiovascular health involves maintaining the structure and function of both the heart and the blood vessels.
How Can CBD Help Protect the Heart?
One problem that affects cardiovascular health is atherosclerosis, resulting in the narrowing and hardening of arteries. The development of atherosclerotic plaques is thought to involve an underlying inflammatory process. Damaged endothelial cells release cytokines that further feed the inflammatory process. CBD’s strong anti-inflammatory effects could possibly contribute to reduced atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is the number one cause of death and disability in the developed world, mainly because the narrowing of the arteries can lead to an increased risk of blood clots, causing heart attacks (myocardial infarctions or MIs) and strokes.
CBD’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties can also help to protect the cardiovascular system from inflammation and oxidative stress, including issues that arise from complications in diabetes. And CBD can prevent and attenuate some complications that arise from heart cells (cardiomyocytes) that are exposed to prolonged high glucose concentrations, such as is found in diabetics. Thus, CBD can help to protect the heart from damage due to diabetes.
A myocardial infarction, commonly known as a heart attack, occurs when one of the arteries feeding the heart (called a coronary artery) becomes blocked. This leads to ischemia and hypoxia in the heart muscle, and the muscle becomes damaged or even dies. CBD has shown beneficial effects in several rodent models of myocardial infarction. For example, CBD can decrease the area of affected tissue (called the “infarct”) and it can reduce the inflammatory response to the ischemia. It can also keep the cardiac cells from dying following ischemia. In some cases, the ischemia of a myocardial infarction can cause abnormalities in the heart’s rhythm (called arrhythmia). CBD has also been shown to have anti-arrythmic effects against ischemia-induced arrythmias. Although this evidence comes mostly from animal studies, it is a strong indication that CBD may help to protect the heart following a myocardial infarction.
CBD also has effects on blood pressure. Blood pressure is a measure of the force of the blood up against the walls of a blood vessel. Clinical blood pressure is a measure of pressure in the arteries, which are vessels which carry blood away from the heart. CBD can cause vasodilation in isolated arteries in the laboratory and it can increase the release of other molecules (such as nitric oxide) which can contribute to vasodilation. Vasodilation reduces blood pressure, because as the arteries widen, there is less pressure of the blood up against the walls. Therefore, CBD can reduce blood pressure. In one clinical study with humans, a single dose of CBD was able to reduce both resting blood pressure and the stress-induced increase in blood pressure. It is thought that CBD’s antioxidant properties contribute to its ability to reduce blood pressure by increasing the activity of an enzyme (superoxide dismutase) which destroys free radicals and also through its actions at PPAR receptors.
In summary, CBD can potentially help to lower blood pressure, protect the heart from damage (especially related to diabetes), and reduce the damage from a heart attack. Click here to order a bottle of Wai Natural’s hemp oil with CBD to start protecting your heart today!