Could CBD help with heart arrhythmias?

Heart arrhythmias, a condition that causes the heart to beat irregularly and affects 2% of the population, may perhaps be helped by cannabidiol (CBD). The hemp-derived cannabinoid may help to regulate heart rhythms, according to preliminary research.

However, the issue is that many studies on the subject have focused on animals rather than humans, and no rigorous, well-controlled human trials have definitively demonstrated a benefit. So, this means that while these animal studies show promise, the benefits have yet to be proven for humans.

This contradicts data that THC users have higher instances of heart problems

According to certain research, cannabis users may have a higher rate of heart problems. Cannabis contains hundreds of chemicals, including a high concentration of THC, which is responsible for its psychoactive effects. Hemp-derived CBD products, on the other hand, have very small quantities of THC, thus the heart concerns linked with cannabis use may not apply.

Scientific research and popular opinion regarding marijuana and cardiovascular health tend to focus on smoking it. It’s thought that persons with established heart disease who are stressed experience chest pain more quickly if they have been smoking marijuana. Therefore, it hasn’t been conclusively proven that THC badly affects the heart ingested in other ways. Although, some people are believed to react to THC quite strongly, perhaps raising their cortisol (stress hormone) levels, which could account for heart issues.

Research on CBD and heart arrhythmias

In a study on rats published by the British Medical Journal, researchers fed the animals CBD either before or after cutting off the blood supply to their coronary arteries and then restoring it. Arrhythmias were effectively caused by cutting off the blood supply. Researchers discovered that giving the rats CBD before cutting off their blood supply lowered the number of arrhythmias and cardiovascular obstructions in the animals.

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Other research has come to similar conclusions, leading CBD proponents to believe that CBD can either prevent or treat cardiac arrhythmias. However, no human research has found CBD to be effective in treating arrhythmias or other significant heart problems.

CBD was found to lower blood pressure in a short 2017 trial of nine guys. The average systolic blood pressure fell by six points. In normal circumstances, however, a systematic review and meta-analysis published in 2017 found no significant effects of CBD on blood pressure or heart rate. CBD may reduce both in stressful settings, according to the study.

Animal studies suggest that CBD may enhance blood flow or lower the number of blockages in the cardiovascular system, thereby aiding in the treatment of heart attacks and strokes. Researchers are unsure how or why this occurs, or whether or if the same advantages exist in humans.

CBD medical research in the headlines

CBD consumers have always reported a wide range of advantages, ranging from the seemingly commonplace (improved skin) to the practically supernatural (tumour shrinkage). CBD science has yet to catch up to these claims. Furthermore, many CBD studies have been conducted on animals rather than humans.

While CBD research seems to be constantly in the headlines, with scientists investigating its use for all sorts of conditions, it’s important to note that research is the beginning of a long journey. The process to find out whether a substance has efficacy in treating a disease takes years of research. However, the amount of different studies scientists are carrying out on CBD does indicate one thing. It shows just how promising experts believe it has the potential to be.

As more and better research becomes accessible, it's feasible that researchers will discover more CBD benefits. CBD is currently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) solely for two uncommon epilepsy disorders: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

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There are a number of medical and health areas that CBD has shown promise in. Yet there are many more conditions where CBD research is only in the preliminary stages of investigation. CBD is now being studied by researchers and has shown promise in the following areas:

  • Decreasing inflammation, notably in rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases
  • Pain relief for chronic pain
  • Addiction to substances like opioids
  • Alzheimer's disease management
  • Treating anxiety or despair as a mood disorder
  • Reducing the size of some tumours
  • Schizophrenia psychosis treatment

So, whether or not CBD can help heart arrhythmias remains to be seen. However, any research, no matter what stage it’s at, is helpful in working out what can benefit our health or the conditions we have to live with. Who knows, in a couple of years to come CBD may very well be proven to help with heart arrhythmias.

You may also like to read: CBD Oil Benefits List

Josephine Gibney

Josephine Gibney is a freelance writer from Waterford. She has worked as a lifestyle reporter, a creative copywriter and a communications specialist over the last ten years. Her short fiction was longlisted for the 2020 Sean O’Faolain Prize and she is currently working on her first novel.

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