Research progress in the management of vascular disease with cannabidiol: a review

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“The morbidity and mortality rates associated with vascular disease (VD) have been gradually increasing. Currently, the most common treatment for VD is surgery, with the progress in drug therapy remaining slow. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural extract of Cannabis sativa L. with sedative, analgesic, and nonaddictive properties. CBD binds to 56 cardiovascular-related receptors and exerts extensive regulatory effects on the cardiovascular system, making it a potential pharmacological agent for the management of VD. However, most CBD studies have focused on neurological and cardiac diseases, and research on the management of VD with CBD is still rare. In this review, we summarize the currently available data on CBD in the management of VD, addressing four aspects: the major molecular targets of CBD in VD management, pharmacokinetic properties, therapeutic effects of CBD on common VDs, and side effects. The findings indicate that CBD has anti-anxiety, anti-oxidation, and anti-inflammatory properties and can inhibit abnormal proliferation and apoptosis of vascular smooth muscle and endothelial cells; these effects suggest CBD as a therapeutic agent for atherosclerosis, stress-induced hypertension, diabetes-related vasculopathy, ischemia-reperfusion injury, and vascular damage caused by smoking and alcohol abuse. This study provides a theoretical basis for further research on CBD in the management of VD.”

Trial of a Novel Oral Cannabinoid Formulation in Patients with Hypertension: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Pharmacogenetic Study

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“Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, and available evidence suggests potential efficacy in the treatment of many disorders. DehydraTECH™2.0 CBD is a patented capsule formulation that improves the bioabsorption of CBD. We sought to compare the effects of CBD and DehydraTECH™2.0 CBD based on polymorphisms in CYP P450 genes and investigate the effects of a single CBD dose on blood pressure. In a randomized and double-blinded order, 12 females and 12 males with reported hypertension were given either placebo capsules or DehydraTECH™2.0 CBD (300 mg of CBD, each). Blood pressure and heart rate were measured during 3 h, and blood and urine samples were collected. In the first 20 min following the dose, there was a greater reduction in diastolic blood pressure (p = 0.025) and mean arterial pressure MAP (p = 0.056) with DehydraTECH™2.0 CBD, which was probably due to its greater CBD bioavailability. In the CYP2C9*2*3 enzyme, subjects with the poor metabolizer (PM) phenotype had higher plasma CBD concentrations. Both CYP2C19*2 (p = 0.037) and CYP2C19*17 (p = 0.022) were negatively associated with urinary CBD levels (beta = -0.489 for CYP2C19*2 and beta = -0.494 for CYP2C19*17). Further research is required to establish the impact of CYP P450 enzymes and the identification of metabolizer phenotype for the optimization of CBD formulations.”

The Influence of Oral Cannabidiol on 24-h Ambulatory Blood Pressure and Arterial Stiffness in Untreated Hypertension: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Cross-Over Pilot Study

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“Introduction: Studies reveal that cannabidiol may acutely reduce blood pressure and arterial stiffness in normotensive humans; however, it remains unknown if this holds true in patients with untreated hypertension. We aimed to extend these findings to examine the influence of the administration of cannabidiol on 24-h ambulatory blood pressure and arterial stiffness in hypertensive individuals.

Methods: Sixteen volunteers (eight females) with untreated hypertension (elevated blood pressure, stage 1, stage 2) were given oral cannabidiol (150 mg every 8 h) or placebo for 24 h in a randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind, cross-over study. Measures of 24-h ambulatory blood pressure and electrocardiogram (ECG) monitoring and estimates of arterial stiffness and heart rate variability were obtained. Physical activity and sleep were also recorded.

Results: Although physical activity, sleep patterns and heart rate variability were comparable between groups, arterial stiffness (~ 0.7 m/s), systolic blood pressure (~ 5 mmHg), and mean arterial pressure (~ 3 mmHg) were all significantly (P < 0.05) lower over 24 h on cannabidiol when compared to the placebo. These reductions were generally larger during sleep. Oral cannabidiol was safe and well tolerated with no development of new sustained arrhythmias.

Conclusions: Our findings indicate that acute dosing of cannabidiol over 24 h can lower blood pressure and arterial stiffness in individuals with untreated hypertension. The clinical implications and safety of longer-term cannabidiol usage in treated and untreated hypertension remains to be established.”

Effects of CBD supplementation on ambulatory blood pressure and serum urotensin-II concentrations in Caucasian patients with essential hypertension: A sub-analysis of the HYPER-H21-4 trial

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“HYPER-H21-4 was a randomized crossover trial that aimed to determine if cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating constituent of cannabis, has relevant effects on blood pressure and vascular health in patients with essential hypertension. In the present sub-analysis, we aimed to elucidate whether serum urotensin-II concentrations may reflect hemodynamic changes caused by oral supplementation with CBD. The sub-analysis of this randomized crossover study included 51 patients with mild to moderate hypertension that received CBD for five weeks, and placebo for five weeks. After five weeks of oral CBD supplementation, but not placebo, serum urotensin concentrations reduced significantly in comparison to baseline (3.31 ± 1.46 ng/mL vs. 2.08 ± 0.91 ng/mL, P < 0.001). Following the five weeks of CBD supplementation, the magnitude of reduction in 24 h mean arterial pressure (MAP) positively correlated with the extent of change in serum urotensin levels (r = 0.412, P = 0.003); this association was independent of age, sex, BMI and previous antihypertensive treatment (β ± standard error, 0.023 ± 0.009, P = 0.009). No correlation was present in the placebo condition (r = -0.132, P = 0.357). In summary, potent vasoconstrictor urotensin seems to be implicated in CBD-mediated reduction in blood pressure, although further research is needed to confirm these notions.”

Chronic Effects of Oral Cannabidiol Delivery on 24-h Ambulatory Blood Pressure in Patients with Hypertension (HYPER-H21-4): A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, and Crossover Study

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“Background: Recent data indicate that cannabidiol (CBD), a nonintoxicating constituent of cannabis, is involved in several aspects of cardiovascular regulation, including blood pressure (BP). However, the impact of chronic CBD administration on 24-h BP and vascular health has not been previously examined in patients with hypertension. The primary aim of this randomized, triple-blind, placebo-controlled, and crossover study was to examine the influence of chronic CBD on 24-h ambulatory BP and arterial stiffness in hypertensive patients. 

Methods: Seventy patients with mild or moderate primary hypertension, who were untreated or receiving standard of care therapy, were randomly assigned to receive either 5 weeks of oral CBD or placebo-matched controls. Following a >2-week washout period, patients were crossed over to alternate therapy. The primary outcome of the study was dynamic in 24-h ambulatory BP and was assessed using two-way repeated measure analysis of variance. 

Results: Administration of CBD reduced average 24 h mean, systolic, and diastolic BP after 2.5 weeks (-3.22±0.90 mmHg [95% confidence interval -1.01 to -5.44 mmHg], -4.76±1.24 mmHg [-1.72 to -7.80 mmHg], and -2.25±0.80 mmHg [-0.30 to -6.01 mmHg], respectively (all p<0.05); however, these values largely remained stable following the uptitration of CBD dosing. There were no changes in liver enzymes or serious adverse events (AEs). There was no significant difference in pulse wave velocity (group×factor interaction: F=1.50, p=0.226) at different time points, regardless of the intervention arm. 

Conclusions: In conclusion, chronic administration of CBD reduces ambulatory BP in those with untreated and treated hypertension. In addition, lack of serious AEs implies safety and tolerability of the above-noted CBD formulation.”

Role of Terpenophenolics in Modulating Inflammation and Apoptosis in Cardiovascular Diseases: A Review


“One in every three deaths worldwide is caused by cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), estimating a total of 17.9 million deaths annually. By 2030, it is expected that more than 24 million people will die from CVDs related complications. The most common CVDs are coronary heart disease, myocardial infarction, stroke, and hypertension.

A plethora of studies has shown inflammation causing both short-term and long-term damage to the tissues in many organ systems, including the cardiovascular system. In parallel to inflammation processes, it has been discovered that apoptosis, a mode of programmed cell death, may also contribute to CVD development due to the loss of cardiomyocytes.

Terpenophenolic compounds are comprised of terpenes and natural phenols as secondary metabolites by plants and are commonly found in the genus Humulus and Cannabis. A growing body of evidence has shown that terpenophenolic compounds exhibit protective properties against inflammation and apoptosis within the cardiovascular system.

This review highlights the current evidence elucidating the molecular actions of terpenophenolic compounds in protecting the cardiovascular system, i.e., bakuchiol, ferruginol, carnosic acid, carnosol, carvacrol, thymol and hinokitiol. The potential of these compounds is discussed as the new nutraceutical drugs that may help to decrease the burden of cardiovascular disorders.”

“In this review, we have summarised the evidence on the potential pharmacological activities of terpenophenolic compounds in regulating inflammation and apoptosis associated with CVDs. Treatment of various classes of terpenophenolic compounds has been shown effective in preventing and limiting the progression of heart failure. In addition, all terpenophenolics seem to be potent antioxidants, which are proven to upregulate the Nrf2 pathway and increase the endogenous antioxidant level.”

CBD supplementation reduces arterial blood pressure via modulation of the sympatho-chromaffin system: A substudy from the HYPER-H21-4 trial

Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy

“Data concerning the effects of cannabidiol (CBD) on blood pressure (BP) is controversial. HYPER-H21-4 was a randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover trial which sought to elucidate if 5-week administration of CBD will reduce BP in hypertensive patients. In the substudy of this trial, we aimed to establish the mechanistic background of CBD-induced BP reduction. Specifically, we explored the dynamic of catestatin, a sympathoinhibitory peptide implicated in the pathophysiology of hypertension. In the present analysis, 54 patients with Grade 1 hypertension were included. 5-week administration of CBD but not placebo reduced serum catestatin concentration in comparison to baseline (13.50 [10.85-19.05] vs. 9.65 [6.37-12.26] ng/mL, p < 0.001). Serum catestatin levels at the start of the treatment period demonstrated a negative correlation with the extent of reduction in mean arterial pressure (r = -0.474, p < 0.001). Moreover, the extent of change in catestatin serum levels showed a strong correlation with the extent of mean arterial pressure reduction (r = 0.712, p < 0.001). Overall, the results of the present study imply that the antihypertensive effects of CBD may be explained by its interaction with the sympatho-chromaffin system, although further research is warranted.”

“CBD supplementation reduces office blood pressure (BP) and serum catestatin levels.”

“Overall, the results of the present study imply that antihypertensive effects of CBD may be explained by its interaction with the sympatho-chromaffin system, although further research is warranted.”

Association between cannabis use and blood pressure levels according to comorbidities and socioeconomic status

Scientific Reports

“The associations between blood pressure and cannabis use remain inconsistent. The purpose of our study was to examine gender stratified associations of cannabis use and blood pressure [systolic, diastolic blood pressure (BP), pulse pressure (PP)] levels among the general UK Biobank population based study. Among 91,161 volunteers of the UK Biobank population, cannabis use status was assessed by questionnaire and range as heavy, moderate, low and never users. Associations between cannabis use and BP were estimated using multiple gender linear regressions.

In adjusted covariates models, lifetime heavy cannabis use was associated with decrease in both SBP, DBP and PP in both genders, but with a higher effect among women (for SBP in men, b = − 1.09 (0.27), p < 0.001; in women, b = − 1.85 (0.36), p < 0.001; for DBP in men, b = − 0.50 (0.15), p < 0.001; in women, b = − 0.87 (0.17), p < 0.001; and for PP in men, b = − 0.60 (0.20), p < 0.001; in women, b = − 0.97 (0.27), p < 0.001. Among men, lower SBP and DBP levels were observed with participants without dyslipidemia and lower PP in participants with high income levels. Among women, lower SBP, DBP and PP were observed with current smokers, moderate/low alcohol levels and participants without dyslipidemia.

Current cannabis use was associated with lower SBP levels in men (b = − 0.63 (0.25), p = 0.012) and in women (b = − 1.17 (0.31), p < 0.001). Same results were observed for DBP and PP. Negative association between BP in men was found but not in women. The small association in BP differences between heavy users and never users remains too small to adopt cannabis-blood pressure public policy in clinical practice.”

Cannabidiol inhibits lung proliferation in monocrotaline-induced pulmonary hypertension in rats

Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy

“Cannabidiol (CBD) is a safe and well-tolerated plant-derived drug with anti-proliferative properties. Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a rapidly progressive and still incurable disease. CBD diminishes monocrotaline (MCT)-induced PH, including reduced right ventricular systolic pressure, pulmonary vascular hypertrophy, and right ventricular remodeling. The aim of our study was to investigate the effect of chronic administration of CBD (10 mg/kg once daily for 21 days) on selected remodeling parameters in the lung of MCT-induced PH rats. In MCT-induced PH, we found an increase in profibrotic parameters, e.g., transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1), galectin-3 (Gal-3), procollagen I, collagen I, C-propeptide, matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9) and an increased number of mast cells. In our study, we observed that the TGF-β1, Gal-3, procollagen I, collagen I, C-propeptide, and mast cell levels in lung tissue were decreased after CBD administration to MCT-treated rats. In summary, CBD treatment has an anti-proliferative effect on MCT-induced PH. Given the beneficial multidirectional effects of CBD on PH, we believe that CBD can be used as an adjuvant PH therapy, but this argument needs to be confirmed by clinical trials.”

Sustained cannabis use does not predispose clinical hypertension: Findings from a national survey

“Cannabis is among the most used recreational and medicinal drugs in the United States. The effects of chronic use on hypertension remain poorly understood.

Our study retrospectively evaluated data collected by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2017 to 2018. Cannabis use was measured with five metrics: (1) sustained use at any point in the past, (2) sustained use within the past year, (3) frequency of use, (4) age of first cannabis use, and (5) current use. Hypertension status was determined by individuals reporting having been diagnosed in the past. Multivariable logistic regressions were performed, controlling for age, race, and gender. A total of 4565 respondents were identified, of which 867 (19.0%) reported sustained cannabis use in the past.

Participants who reported past sustained cannabis use did not have statistically different odds of having hypertension (OR: 1.12; 95% CI: .66-1.91; p = .6). Moderate (OR: 1.08; 95% CI: .36-3.25; p = .8) and highly-frequent users (OR: 1.30; 95% CI: .56-3.03; p = .4) did not have different odds of having hypertension than infrequent users. No relationship between the age of first cannabis use and hypertension was observed. The recency of sustained cannabis use was not associated with hypertension status. Current cannabis users had similar odds of hypertension as past users (OR: 1.03; 95% CI: .59-1.79; p = .9).

The findings of this study indicate that neither past nor current cannabis use is associated with clinical hypertension.”

“The findings of this study indicate that neither past nor current cannabis use are associated with the likelihood of having clinical hypertension. Among cannabis users, frequency of use was not associated with hypertension. Similarly, the age of first cannabis use was not associated with hypertension status.”