The Surprising Way Cannabis May Help Manage Blood Pressure

What is hypertension and what are the risks associated with it?
High blood pressure, also referred to as hypertension, is when the force of the blood that pumps through the arteries is too high for too long!  It’s like turning a water hose on high and laying it on the ground in one place.  Eventually the ground will shift and change to accommodate the force of the water.  In the heart, the chambers will respond to the force by becoming hypertrophied or thickened.   This then reduces the efficiency of the heart muscle itself and causes everything below that to shift and change to accommodate the force of the pumping action!  When pressure stays high for too long it causes the vessels to stretch and become lax and then the blood isn’t able to move through the vessels with the proper force for protection from stroke and heart attack.  To add to the risk,  particles of cholesterol can get piled up and then break loose and cause a heart attack or stroke.

This increased pressure can damage the arteries, heart, and kidneys and can lead to stroke, heart failure, and kidney failure. There are many possible causes of hypertension, including 
poor diet (one high in sodium and processed foods)
sleep apnea
RAS (renal artery stenosis)
and weird things like pheochromocytoma
Thyroid issues can affect blood pressure.  

There is so much to consider.   While there are often no symptoms in the early stages of hypertension, it is usually discovered during a simple blood pressure check. Treatment typically involves lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise, as well as medications to lower blood pressure. In some cases, surgery may also be necessary. Although hypertension is a serious condition, it is often preventable through healthy lifestyle choices.

How can cannabis help to lower blood pressure and improve heart health?
For many people, the idea of using cannabis to improve heart health may seem counterintuitive. After all, cannabis is notorious for causing an increase in heart rate. However, recent research has shown that cannabis can actually help to lower blood pressure and improve heart health. One study found that just a single puff of cannabis lowered blood pressure by up to five points. The researchers believe that this effect is due to the fact that cannabis causes the blood vessels to dilate, which lowers blood pressure. Another study found that regular cannabis use was associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. The researchers believe that this effect is due to the fact that cannabis helps to reduce inflammation and improve blood sugar control. Taken together, these studies suggest that cannabis can be an effective tool for improving heart health.

What is the advise?  
All the research I have reviewed indicates that a controlled regimen of medical cannabis and CBD use is considered relatively safe in terms of heart health.  
  • If you have heavy use, you may have an increase of blood pressure but it should resolve after use has been discontinued.  
  • If you have very light use of medicinal cannabis or CBD, you may have transient elevations of blood pressure.  I
  • f you don’t use cannabis medically but more recreationally and your use is heavy, you may have an initial increase in blood pressure but as you become accustomed to using the plant, you will have a reversal of the elevated pressure by experiencing low blood pressure - hypotension.  
  • Of course, if your blood pressure stays elevated, stopping cannabis, getting an appointment with your provider for a work up is indicated.
Other things to consider in the setting of HBP are diet, decrease ALL processed foods, eat a diet rich in fresh vegetables, low sugar content fruits and lean meats.  If you are a woman in menopause, avoid pork (at least a regular diet of pork).  Eating pork occasionally is ok but too much can lead to an estrogen spike and can affect blood pressure.

Also, lastly, I was listening to a health series about parasite infections.  The consensus is that we all likely have some sort of parasite because we eat raw foods, sushi, we have pets that sleep in our beds or lick our faces.  In the setting of a parasite infection, you could have cardiac related issues along with anxiety, depression, mood disorders, brain fog, sweats, joint pain and more!  That is the topic of another conversation

What is CBD?


What is CBD?

CBD is a compound known as cannabidiol with therapeutic properties and is not known for intoxication like its cousin THC.   It is found in both cannnabis and hemp and can be made into edibles like gummies, cookies, brownies, tinctures, oils and more.  

The difference between CBD and THC is the molecule known as tetrahydrocannbinol that is found in THC and is responsible for the High you feel if you use it.  It’s nice to know we can reap the benefits of the plant and eliminate the psychoactive effects of THC by using CBD.  But the other news is that because of the way the molecules work on the receptors in the body, with that little dab of THC present it actually causes the CBD to be more effective.  

CBD can be used to help manage stress, anxiety, pain, insomnia and many of the symptoms associated with menopause.

The really cool thing is that since CBD/hemp was made legal in most states with the passing of the Farm Bill in 2018, researchers have been discovering more and more therapeutic compounds that are in the plant that can help with our health concerns.

How Does it Work in the Body?   Cannabis as Medicine

We have receptors all over the body that make up part of the endocannabinoid system. This system, also referred to as ECS, is very complex.  It helps our bodies get into and stay in a state of balance or homeostasis.  We have a load of natural endocannabinoids in the body.  CBD helps the receptors of those natural endocannabinoids and also encourages the body to produce more of the natural endocannabinoids.  

CBD not only interacts with endocannabinoids but also interacts with other important neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine and opioid receptors.  This is one of the reasons THC and CBD have been legalized for medical purposes.  Here are some of the issues this plant based medicine can help.
 Anxiety:  Because of the endocannabinoid receptors known as CB1 receptors that are abundant in the brain, the theory is that the serotonin neurotransmitter is involved in this pathway.  You can use a dry herb vaporizer to inhale CBD flower for a fast result or use a quality, lab tested oil or tincture.  I have a couple of companies I love that are quality pure products and have transparent lab testing.
Pain:  People suffer with pain.  Sometimes it's from nerves or other times it is inflammatory musculoskeletal pain.  People who struggle with chronic pain can use CBD since it binds to the opioid receptor thereby, reducing discomfort associated with chronic pain.  Either way, CBD is a great choice for addressing this problem and even better with a very small, teeny tiny amount of THC
 Insomnia:  My favorite use of CBD by far is to help with sleep issues.  I can use CBD and a small amount of THC and sleep like a baby.  I used to wake up to go to the bathroom and then toss and turn and then my mind would start churning and couldn't go back to sleep.  This regimen allows me to wake up and go right back to sleep most nights.   Depending on the person, body habitus, other medications, etc. CBD dosing needs to be higher for most folks.  This is something you can work with me to figure out.

Where does CBD really come from?

It can come from hemp that traditionally contains <0.3% THC.  It can come from cannabis as well but will have higher levels of THC.  

Will CBD show up in a drug test?
No.  CBD won’t show up and people aren’t tested for CBD.  BUT…..if you live in a state where THC is illegal or you work for a federal government agency, you will need to be very careful as you could test positive for THC since there may be trace amounts of THC in CBD.
Would you like to WORK WITH ME?  I am a Certified Cannabis Coach with another certification as an Educator.  When I first started looking at trying CBD, I was so confused, it was overwhelming going to the dispensary and I just didn’t know where to start with dosing and all the many kinds of products. Together we can figure out the best solution for your health concerns.  

Thermography vs Mammography

Thermography vs Mammography
Thermography vs Mammography - My Mom's Story
My Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 56.  It was a lump they had been following for a while and it was time to get it removed.  She went into the hospital for a lumpectomy and came out without a breast!  I was so angry about that!!!! It seemed so drastic!!   She wore a prosthesis from then on and later didn’t even wear that!  It layed on the table most of the time.  Her fake boob!

My Story

When I was 32, my provider demanded I get a baseline mammogram due to my Mom’s history.  The girl that did the test at the hospital, Linda, (I don't fondly remember her name) pressed the plates together against my breast so hard that there was an audible “pop” followed by a dark green discharge that came out of the nipple.  I was also bruised all around the breast.  That experience pretty much created a deep fear in me to ever get another mammogram.  I avoided it for years after the recommended age for screening had passed.  

Finally, (I don’t remember my age), I came to my senses and scheduled another mammogram.  This time there was a dedicated breast center and the experience was much more tolerable.  I am a terrible patient, so I let the yearly screening come and go and was not good at being diligent with that.  Besides, my mammograms were usually normal.  A couple of times, there were some “calcifications” that looked suspicious so they would call me back in for a diagnostic mammogram to look further.  

In 2015, I was supposed to get my screening mammogram done in January.  I already mentioned I am a terrible patient and before I realized it the year was almost gone.  I scheduled my test on my birthday in November.  I figured that would be an easy way to remember to get this done every year.  I got a call the next day that I had a suspicious lesion that was likely cancer.  WHAT?????  Yep, ER/PR+ HER2- 1 cm DCIS tumor.  I had a breast MRI to make sure there were no abnormal findings anywhere else in the surrounding musculature or bones.  It was all normal.  I had a lumpectomy and they removed 4 lymph nodes.  Once the surgical site healed, I had 33 radiation treatments.  It was a scary process but I am, at the time of this writing, cancer free.  

I had decided this last year I would look into thermography to see if there were any inflammatory changes going on.  They did a baseline test and 3 months later repeated that and everything was normal.  

Here’s what I know about options for breast imaging. 

Mammography is standard of care.  It is a form of xray that examines breast tissue and identifies abnormalities that could be cancer.  It can also detect possible abnormalities that need further imaging as in the case of calcifications.  This can cause anxiety and is more costly.  Mammograms are recommended starting at age 50.  The starting age used to be 40 but the guidelines have changed unless you have a first degree relative with a history of breast cancer.  The guidelines also state the screening can be done every 2 years.  This is a discussion you should have with your provider.  

Drawbacks of mammogram are xray exposure and deep compression of breast tissue and false findings resulting in more imaging.

Thermography is another screening tool but is not considered standard of care.  It is a form of infrared technology that detects and records temperature changes on the surface of the skin.  It is thought that if there are cancer cells then those cells create inflammation which will show up on the imaging as elevated skin temperature.  There are some benefits to consider - see the above chart

Thermography is not recommended as a substitute for mammography or breast MRI

Moving forward, I will continue to get mammograms and may continue to alternate that screening with thermography.  This last year I did only thermography.  This year I will do another mammogram (ugh!!)

If you aren't in a community that is filled with education and information about hormones and women's health then join my community here:
Interested in seeing if your hormones are balanced or out of whack?  check this out here!! 

Menopause and High Blood Pressure - Is it a Thing?

Menopause and High Blood Pressure - Is it a Thing?
Have you experienced high blood pressure and you are also having signs and symptoms of peri-menopause or you are in menopause?  This blog addresses this topic, so check it out!!

Essential Oils -the Basics

Essential Oils -the Basics
There is a lot to know about essential oils!!  If you have googled that topic, then you understand the confusion and overwhelmingness of it.  Here is an e-book for you that is packed with info to help you get started.

If you like what you read and want to know more......connect with me!!