Study: Cannabis Use History Not Associated with Increased Risk of Hypertension

Chicago, IL: Neither current nor past cannabis use is associated with an elevated risk of high blood pressure, according to data published in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension.

Investigators with Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago assessed the relationship between cannabis use and blood pressure in a cohort of 4,565 adults. 

They found no correlation between cannabis consumption and the likelihood of receiving a medical diagnosis for hypertension. They reported: “When compared with non-users, respondents who indicated sustained use of cannabis were not found to have an increased likelihood of developing hypertension. Among cannabis users, the frequency of use was not associated with increased odds of hypertension diagnosis. The age that an individual first began regularly using cannabis was also not found to have an association with the odds of hypertension diagnosis. Current users were not more likely than past users to have hypertension.”

The authors concluded: “The findings of this study indicate that neither past nor current cannabis use are associated with the likelihood of having clinical hypertension. … Prospective clinical trials are needed to further determine the effects of cannabis on developing or perhaps even mitigating hypertension, particularly regarding long-term outcomes.”

The findings are similar to those of a 2021 study, which also reported, “After adjustment for all confounders, neither lifetime cannabis use, 12-month cannabis use nor 12-month cannabis use frequency [at least monthly use and less than monthly use] were associated above chance with the incidence of hypertension.”

Cannabinoids may influence blood pressure and other cardiovascular responses, though these effects tend to be short-term in duration and can be inconsistent. Recently, Israeli data reported that elderly subjects with hypertension respond favorably to medical cannabis treatment. Investigators involved with that study concluded, “Cannabis treatment for three months was associated with a reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, as well as heart rate.”

Full text of the study, “Sustained cannabis use does not predispose clinical hypertension: Findings from a national survey,” appears in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension. Additional information on cannabinoids and hypertension is available from NORML