Researchers in Isreal have discovered a connection between medical cannabis, blood pressure, and older adults. Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and its affiliated Soroka University Medical Center studied the effect of marijuana on adults 60 and older who have hypertension, according to EurekAlert on Feb. 8, 2021.
Their study was published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine and is cited as the first of its kind to focus on the way marijuana consumption affects a person’s blood pressure, heart rate, and metabolic parameters.
Dr. Ran Abuhasira from the BGU Faculty of Health Sciences, a leading medical facility in Isreal, and the BGU-Soroka Cannabis Clinical Research Institute explains:
Older adults are the fastest-growing group of medical cannabis users, yet evidence on cardiovascular safety for this population is scarce.
He added the study is part of their ongoing clinical investigation on the tangible physiological effects of marijuana over time.
Their methodology used 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), blood work, and body measurements evaluated before and three months after beginning the cannabis therapeutics.
Researchers found a notable decrease in 24-hour systolic¹ and diastolic² blood pressure levels. The lowest numbers recorded occurred three hours after smoking cannabis or orally consuming oil extracts. The study noted the subjects showed blood pressure reduction in both daytime and nighttime — more remarkable changes were recorded at night.
It is possible that the pain relief experienced from using marijuana contributed to the reduced blood pressure results, according to the BGU researchers.
The American Heart Association cannot conduct studies on the effects of cannabis usage since marijuana is still illegal federally, even if a state has legalized THC products. The organization’s website explains that high pressure is a health issue that affects an estimated 103 million Americans — 1.3 billion worldwide.
¹Systolic is the first number in blood pressure results (120/80). This reading measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart pumps.
²Diastolic is the second number in blood pressure results (120/80). This reading measures the arteries’ pressure when the heart rests between beats.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
EurekAlert!: Cannabis reduces blood pressure in older adults, according to Ben-Gurion University researchers
The American Heart Association: As marijuana use grows, researchers want to know how it affects the heart
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