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  • Writer's pictureDr. Dan Jin

Cannabis – Potential Treatment for Older Adults with Hypertension

The cardiovascular effects of cannabinoid were recognized as early as the 1960s, and were considered as novel antihypertensive agents [1]. It was introduced that one of the cannabinoids receptors CB1 are expressed on various peripheral tissues, including the heart and vasculature, and cannabinoid agonists and endocannabinoids can decrease arterial blood pressure and cardiac contractility.


Medical cannabis use is increasing rapidly in the past several years, with older adults being the fastest growing group. Despite the significant rise in cannabis use, the current evidence on the cardiovascular safety of medical cannabis in older adults is scarce. A prospective study [2] by researcher from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (Israel) and Harvard Medical School showed that cannabis is associated with blood pressure reduction in older adults with hypertension.


Twenty-six patients with a mean age of 70.42 ± 5.37 years with hypertension were given a prescription of cannabis in the form of cigarette and cannabis oil. Blood pressure, heart rate, electrocardiogram (ECG), and metabolic parameters were accessed before and after 3 months of cannabis treatment. The primary outcome was the change in mean 24-h blood pressure at 3 months. The results showed that the mean 24-hours systolic and diastolic blood pressures were both reduced, and the nadir (lowest point) for the blood pressure and heart rate was achieved at 3 hours post-administration. There were no significant changes in the different metabolic parameters assessed by blood tests, anthropometric measurements, or ECG exam. Although this study was limited by sample size, it offers a potential avenue for hypertension management, with future larger randomized trials to evaluate the efficacy and safety.


References

  1. Pacher P, Batkai S, Kunos G (2005) Cardiovascular pharmacology of cannabinoids. Cannabinoids 168:599–625

  2. Abuhasira R, Haviv YS, Leiba M, Leiba A, Ryvo L, Novack V (2021) Cannabis is associated with blood pressure reduction in older adults – A 24-hours ambulatory blood pressure monitoring study. European Journal of Internal Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejim.2021.01.005

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