Knocking out Inflammation in Heart disease: CBD to the Rescue!
We are living in unprecedented times in modern medicine. People are asking for real answers and help with chronic conditions not adequately treated (or with unacceptable side effects) by our modern pharmaceutical therapies. Many modern chronic conditions have inflammation as an underlying cause of the manifested disease and could be improved by cannabis therapy.
Pharmaceutical therapies work to reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure and improve blood glucose control, all implicated in heart disease; but all anti-inflammatory drugs come with a risk of serious adverse events making them often unjustifiable for long-term therapy. Thankfully, cannabis can reduce chronic inflammation implicated in heart disease.
‘How does THC and CBD work to reduce inflammation and protect our bodies from disease?’
Inflamed and scarred arteries create a plaque, or lesion, that is worsened by chronic inflammation. Overtime chronic inflammation causes further injury and the lesion can eventually rupture blocking major arteries damaging the heart or brain. This chronic inflammation is caused by immune cells that continuously release inflammatory molecules that can be inhibited by molecules of the cannabis plant, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is the non-psychoactive (i.e. it doesn’t get you high) molecule found in cannabis. While both THC and CBD are found in cannabis and have powerful anti-inflammatory effects, too much THC can get one “high” causing euphoria, paranoia, or intoxication.
THC activates cannabinoid (CB1) receptors in the central nervous system and cannabinoid (CB2) receptors in the periphery reducing the amount of inflammatory molecules released by immune cells and other signaling systems that lead to inflammation. CBD, has little affinity for CB1 or CB2 receptors and exerts its anti-inflammatory effects by acting on ion channels and blocking metabolizing enzymes, increasing the body’s natural endocannabinoid, anandamide. Studies also show that CBD may have cardioprotective effect reducing the size of a heart attack and reducing injury.
‘Who should consider taking CBD to prevent inflammation and prevent chronic disease?’
Reducing chronic inflammation in the body could be the most important thing we do to improve our overall health. Anyone with a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, or metabolic syndrome should consider a small dose of CBD oil or edible daily to reduce inflammation.
‘Is cannabis safe for people with risks factors for cardiovascular disease?’
No, not all cannabis is safe for everyone with heart disease. Moderate to high doses of THC can increase heart rate initially and subsequently slow heart rate and lower blood pressure known as orthostatic hypotension, resulting in dizziness upon standing. THC-dominant cannabis varieties are not recommended for persons with irregular heart rhythms, (e.g. uncontrolled atrial fibrillation) or unstable heart disease (e.g. angina).
Instead persons with unstable heart disease should consider taking a CBD-dominant cannabis variety like, Cannatonic, ACDC, or Charlotte’s Web. I like to have my patients start with 0.25 mLs to 0.5 mLs once or twice daily of CBD-dominant cannabis that provides 6.25 mg to 12.5 mg of CBD and 0.5 mg to 1 mg of THC per dose.
Cannabis varieties like, Blueberry Cheesecake, Candyland, and Lavender are higher in caryophyllene, a terpene found in cannabis that also reduces inflammation. However, these have a higher ratio of THC to CBD and would be recommended for prevention and not advised for persons with heart disease. Start with 0.1 mLs to 0.25 mLs of a 1:1 mixture providing 1mg to 2.5 mg of THC and CBD in the evening. At this low dose side effects of euphoria or intoxication are unlikely and become less so with chronic and consistent use. As well, equal amounts of CBD will reduce the side effects of THC.
Remember each person will require a unique dose. Start low and go slow. If you have short-term memory lapses, excessively dry mouth, episodes of dizziness or increased heart rate lower your dose. Medical cannabis is a valuable tool to improve symptoms and underlying causes of disease but should be recommended with the guidance of an experienced practitioner to make sure this therapy is right for you.
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