When you hear about the best strains for high blood pressure, you need to learn the truth. There is a lot of misinformation relating to cannabis and its apparent benefits. At present, research is ongoing, so it is premature to conclude what MMJ can treat. It is debatable whether there is a ‘best’ strain for high blood pressure, though cannabis could offer some assistance with certain symptoms.
What Is Hypertension?
Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure. Hypertension can cause serious health issues, including an increase in the risk of stroke, heart disease, and death. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), an estimated 103 million American adults have hypertension.
The CDC’s data is even more frightening. It estimates that almost 500,000 deaths in America include hypertension as a primary or contributory cause. And the economic cost is astounding. The CDC says the condition costs the economy around $131 billion annually.
Blood pressure readings are written with the top number (the systolic pressure) over the bottom number (the diastolic pressure). Systolic refers to the pressure when the heart is pumping, and diastolic is the pressure when the heart is filling.
A normal blood pressure reading is below 120/80, so 118/74 or 116/76. Here are the other ranges:
- Elevated Blood Pressure: 120-129/79 or less
- Stage 1 High Blood Pressure: 130-139/80-89
- Stage 2 High Blood Pressure: 140+/90+
- Hypertension Crisis: 180+/120+
What Causes High Blood Pressure?
There are multiple causes of high blood pressure. Blood pressure itself is the measure of the force of blood pushing against blood vessel walls. The heart pumps blood into the blood vessels, which in turn transport blood around the body. Having hypertension is harmful because it forces the heart to work harder to pump blood to the body. It also potentially leads to issues such as kidney disease, hardening of the arteries, and heart failure.
The list of risk factors for hypertension includes, but is not limited to:
- Being overweight or obese
- Excessive salt in the diet
- Old age
- Sleep apnea
- Elevated alcohol consumption – more than 1-2 daily drinks
- Lack of exercise
- A family history of hypertension
Essential hypertension is the name of the type of hypertension in which doctors can’t find an underlying cause. This is the case in almost 95% of instances. Though the reasons for the condition are not conclusive, there are links to specific risk factors. For example, high blood pressure tends to run in families.
Race and age are other key risk factors. In the U.S., African-Americans are twice as likely to have hypertension than Caucasians. The condition is also more likely to affect males than females, and the risk increases with age.
High Blood Pressure Symptoms
In many cases, people experience no symptoms of high blood pressure. This is why it is sometimes called “the silent killer.”If left undetected, the issue can damage the blood vessels, heart, and kidneys. In severe cases, hypertension symptoms could include:
Long-term hypertension could result in damage to the arteries, which can put people at risk for atherosclerosis. In this situation, the heart is forced to pump harder than ever to circulate the blood. This could lead to:
- Heart attacks
If you are concerned about hypertension, you have the option of purchasing a home blood pressure monitor. If your blood pressure is high, please visit a doctor for advice. Aside from a recommendation to try stress reduction techniques, you may also be given medication. Anti-hypertensive medications include:
- Calcium-channel blockers
- Central agonists
However, there has also been a suggestion that marijuana could help with some hypertension symptoms. Let’s investigate this matter a little further.
Are Cannabis Strains Useful for High Blood Pressure?
Research into the effects of marijuana on high blood pressure is relatively limited. Therefore, it is unwise to recommend strains for hypertension. Instead, it is essential to focus on a condition’s symptoms and causes to see if cannabis could help manage them.
Regarding this particular condition, it may be that effective strains for high blood pressure are those strains that can help lower stress levels. As noted above, stress is a key contributing factor known to promote the onset of hypertension.
However, you should not use marijuana to treat high blood pressure. There is a lack of clinical data available, which means making specific claims is an unhelpful act.
A study by Jadoon et al., published in JCI Insight in June 2017, looked at CBD and high blood pressure. It found that a single dose of CBD reduced blood pressure. However, the study looked at healthy volunteers, and it was unclear whether the dose given was in the form of CBD isolate or a full-spectrum extract.
A separate study by Pacher et al., published in the Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology in February 2008, looked at the cardiovascular pharmacology of cannabinoids. After analyzing the effects of various mechanisms involving CB1 receptors and endocannabinoids, researchers concluded that “pharmacological manipulation of the endocannabinoid system may offer novel therapeutic approaches in hypertension.”
Unfortunately, there is virtually zero reliable information suggesting that specific marijuana strains for high blood pressure are better than others. We do know through research, however, that CBD may help to mollify stress, which is a contributing factor for hypertension. Therefore, strains that are high in CBD, or that offer a roughly 1:1 THC-to-CBD ratio may prove beneficial for some individuals.
5 Potentially Useful Marijuana Strains for Hypertension
Before we get into the list of strains, it is important to remind readers that as cannabis remains federally illegal in the U.S. and many parts of the world, performing clinical studies remains a challenge. Therefore, medical experts are unable to draw any conclusions regarding the efficacy of marijuana for most medical conditions.
However, millions of people use cannabis daily in the hopes of managing conditions such as high blood pressure. They may find that cannabis enables them to feel more relaxed. Keeping stress levels low can only help in the quest to keep blood pressure at a healthy level. The strains below have relatively low levels of THC against a high CBD content. As a result, you will hopefully feel relaxed, but not excessively intoxicated.
1 – Ringo’s Gift
This slightly sativa-dominant hybrid is a cross of Harle-Tsu and ACDC. The Humboldt Seed Collective named this strain after famed cannabis trailblazer, Lawrence Ringo. It is a favored medicinal strain due to its high CBD content of 15-22%, meaning it has the potential to offer ample benefit in terms of stress reduction. And since stress is a known cause of hypertension, it may likewise hold potential in helping maintain healthy blood pressure levels.
Lastly, the high CBD to THC ratio means there is little chance of experiencing an intoxicating high with this strain. Some users do suggest, however, that it provides a calming cerebral effect coupled with a feeling of full-body relaxation. Given these low levels of intoxication potential, many users feel comfortable consuming Ringo’s Gift in the morning.
2 – Sweet & Sour Widow
The Sweet & Sour Widow strain is another potential option for those interested in managing blood pressure via stress reduction. This particular offering is a slight twist on the classic White Widow strain, with the key difference being the 1:1 CBD to THC ratio. You will get 5-11% of each in this indica-dominant hybrid.
This is a strain for relative newcomers because it provides a mild yet very pleasant high. Some users feel an uplifting mental sensation and suggest that Sweet & Sour Widow helps keep them focused throughout the day.
3 – Pennywise
Named after the evil clown from It, the Pennywise strain is a slightly stronger option than Sweet & Sour Widow in terms of THC content. Even so, it retains the 1:1 CBD to THC ratio with 12-15% of each. It is an indica-dominant strain that’s a cross of Jack the Ripper and Harlequin. Created by TGA Subcool Seeds, Pennywise is potent enough to provide a high, without threatening to overwhelm.
The name may suggest a terrifying experience, but it is a misnomer. Many users experience a gentle mental high that’s likely to make them feel a sensation of calm – and perhaps even heightened focus. Pennywise’s sedative properties mean it is best used at the end of the day, and the benefit of stress reduction may prove advantageous for those trying to manage daily blood pressure levels.
4 – Zen
The name of this strain suggests a calming feeling, and it doesn’t disappoint. This is a balanced hybrid that’s a cross of Lavender, Mexican, and Afghani strains. The CBD Seeds company created this strain, and it can act as a gentle introduction to the use of marijuana. Its THC content seldom exceeds 10%, and it has around 8% CBD. Therefore, the Zen strain is suitable for relative novices.
For those seeking a wild intoxicating high, Zen is not the right option. However, folks may experience a feeling of heightened mental clarity and sharper focus. There is also a suggestion that this strain could induce a sense of happiness and increased energy levels, despite the relaxation brought on by Zen. The feeling of cheerfulness could last for hours, and users are unlikely to experience a sensation of sedation or fatigue.
5 – Sour Tsunami
The legendary Lawrence Ringo of the Southern Humboldt Seed Collective created the Sour Tsunami strain. He did so in a bid to ease the severity of his back pain. It is a slightly sativa-dominant hybrid that’s a cross of NYC Diesel and Sour Diesel. With a THC of 1-10% and CBD of 10-11%, it is yet another viable option for users who don’t wish to get high.
It is a good option for people seeking a relaxing feeling without experiencing excessive intoxication. Consumers may feel a slight head buzz, followed by an uplifting sensation. As it doesn’t cause consumers to become particularly discombobulated, Sour Tsunami can be used during the day. Some users also suggest it has analgesic effects, which is potentially good news for people with headaches and back pain.
Final Thoughts on Cannabis Strains and Hypertension
Ultimately, there is no existing evidence available to help suggest a ‘specific’ marijuana strain for hypertension. The continued prohibition of cannabis ensures this lack of data will remain a problem for the foreseeable future.
However, we have suggested some of our favorites that we believe consumers will enjoy. They contain a high level of CBD to help mollify stress levels, and also to help counteract any stress-inducing issues that people may experience with marijuana strains that are excessively high in THC content.