Case Report: Cannabis Use Stabilizes High Blood Pressure

Birmingham, United Kingdom: Cannabis use is associated with stabilizing blood pressure in a patient with autonomic dysreflexia (a syndrome characterized by the sudden onset of excessively high blood pressure), according to a case report published in The Annals of Internal Medicine.

A team of investigators from the United Kingdom and Canada assessed cannabis use and blood pressure stability in a 41-year-old man with spinal cord injury. The subject had been using cannabis intermittently for over a decade to self-manage his blood pressure.

Researchers calculated that the patient’s “BP stability was worse on days when he did not use cannabis and better on days when he did. We calculated that cannabis use reduced the frequency of autonomic dysreflexia by 80 percent and its severity by 36 percent.” They also reported that cannabis therapy mitigated the patient’s global pain intensity, spasm frequency, and spasm severity, as well as improving the patient’s sleep quality and overall well-being.

Authors concluded, “We believe that our findings document that cannabis use improved BP stability in this patient by reducing the intensity and frequency of the visceral stimuli, such as pain and spasms, that are known to trigger autonomic dysreflexia.”

Emerging research indicates that the endogenous cannabinoid system plays a role in regulating blood pressure. However, prior investigations assessing the impact of cannabinoids on hypertension and other cardiovascular effects have yielded inconsistent results.

Full text of the study, “Using cannabis to control blood pressure after spinal cord injury: A case report,” appears in The Annals of Internal Medicine. Additional information on cannabinoids and hypertension is available online.