Cannabis Use Associated with Reduced Hypertension in Elderly Subjects

Be’er Sheva, Israel: Elderly subjects with hypertension respond favorably to medical cannabis treatment, according to observational data published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine

A team of investigators affiliated with Israel’s Ben-Gurion University assessed the impact of medical cannabis administration on hypertension in 26 elderly patients (mean age: 70) over a three-month period. Study subjects ingested cannabis either orally (via oil extracts) or by smoking. Researchers performed the following assessments on the participants: 24-hours ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, ECG, blood tests, and anthropometric measurements prior to the initiation of cannabis therapy and three months afterward. The primary outcome was change in mean 24-hour blood pressure at three months.

Authors reported, “Cannabis treatment for three months was associated with a reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, as well as heart rate.” Several of the subjects in the study reported symptoms of dizziness following cannabis administration. Patients’ use of cannabis was not association with an elevated risk of arrhythmias during the study period. 

Cannabinoids have been previously shown to influence blood pressure and other cardiovascular responses, though many of these effects are short-term in duration and most subjects become tolerant to them (e.g., tachycardia). According to a review of the data published in the journal Neuropharmacology: “The endocannabinergic system plays an important cardiovascular regulatory role not only in pathophysiological conditions associated with excessive hypotension but also in hypertension. Thus, the pharmacological manipulation of this system may offer novel therapeutic approaches in a variety of cardiovascular disorders.”

Full text of the study, “Cannabis is associated with blood pressure reduction in older adults – A 24-hours ambulatory blood pressure monitoring study,” appears in the European Journal of Internal Medicine. Additional information on cannabinoids and hypertension is available from NORML.