CBD Vs Statins To Control Cholesterol While statins may lower your LDL cholesterol numbers, some researchers believe it does nothing to protect users from heart attacks or strokes. They also have CBD may be used to manage cholesterol levels. It has suggested health benefits, like regulating heart health and preventing stroke. Learn more. CBD produces many effects that may benefit people with high cholesterol levels. Read on to know more about the effects of CBD on cholesterol.
CBD Vs Statins To Control Cholesterol
While statins may lower your LDL cholesterol numbers, some researchers believe it does nothing to protect users from heart attacks or strokes. They also have many adverse side effects which may lead to long-term problems in the future. Studies suggest that CBD may lower blood cholesterol levels and remove plaque. In this article, I will discuss how statins work, list their adverse side effects, and explain the importance of cholesterol. I will cite studies that support the potential replacement of statins with CBD as well as further studies about possible CBD-statin interactions.
What Are Statins?
Statins are a class of drugs that reduce the blood lipid levels by changing the activity of the liver enzymes in their production.
Statins Side Effects
- May cause muscle damage
- May cause neurological problems
- May increase blood sugar levels
- May cause liver damage
The Importance of Cholesterol
Some people view cholesterol as bad. But, a substantial amount of cholesterol, a waxy fatty acid found in human cells, is required by the body to carry out essential functions. These include the production of hormones, vitamin D, digestive bile, and the maintenance of many brain functions. HDL is the good cholesterol and LDL is the harmful cholesterol.
The human body stores cholesterol for future use, but when there is an excess of cholesterol, it gets stored in the arteries. The HDL is used for necessary bodily functions, but the LDL turns into plaque in the arteries. Plaque buildup is what leads to heart disease and strokes. However, statins do not actually remove plaque. They simply block the cholesterol producing enzyme, HMG, which reduces the total amount of cholesterol in the bloodstream. This forces the body to reabsorb the cholesterol from the arteries.
Many studies suggest that an increase in HDL and a decrease in LDL may lead to a decrease in cardiovascular mortality. Some of the more recent studies suggest that there is no correlation between a higher LDL cholesterol number and the development of cardiovascular disease.
Can CBD Effectively Replace Statins?
While CBD is known for many therapeutic effects, there are few studies suggesting its impact on the removal of plaque and the reduction of LDL. Here are a few that do support this hypothesis:
- Hector Lopez led a study, published in May 2020 in the Journal of Dietary Supplements, that suggested that CBD may increase HDL levels through its impact on specific brain receptors.
- A 2016 study, published in Diabetes Care, indicated that CBD may regulate the production of insulin and metabolism of sugar and increase the capacity to process unhealthy fats. This process was seen to lower the LDL levels in overweight, but otherwise healthy individuals, within six weeks, even with a normal diet.
- A 2013 study, published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, showed that CBD oil may indirectly regulate blood cholesterol content and reduce cardiovascular disease risk by minimizing the stress response by the cardiovascular system.
While there is still no agreement by researchers on the effect that CBD has on the heart, here are some studies promoting the supposition that CBD may have cardi-protective properties:
- A 2010 study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, suggests that CBD may prevent heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases in diabetic patients.
- A 2020 study, published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements, demonstrated that CBD may regulate the immune system and provide cardiovascular protection through its indirect activation of CB2 receptors by way of the 5-HT3A brain receptor.
- A 2019 paper, published in the Recent Advances in Cannabinoid Physiology and Pathology, makes the case that there is a close link between the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and its impact on cardiovascular diseases. CBD may act as a vasorelaxant, which allows more blood to flow through blood vessels. This reduces the stress on the heart.
Scientists are unclear on how CBD interacts with statins. Studies indicate that CBD inhibits several of the liver enzymes which are necessary for breaking down statins. The outcome may be an increase in the concentration of statins in the bloodstream approaching toxic levels. With long-term use, this could mean a risk to a patient’s health including more adverse side effects.
Here is what we know:
- Statins are metabolized by the liver’s Cytochrome P450 group of liver isoenzymes; CYP3A4, CYP3A5, CYP2C9, and CYP2C19
- Studies indicate that CBD inhibits these enzymes
- Long-term use of CBD can interfere with the normal functioning of these enzymes, thus lowering the blood statin clearance rate
- This causes higher concentrations of statins remaining in the bloodstream, leading to an increase in the severity of side effects
- While there is no conclusive evidence that combining CBD with statins is harmful, the aforementioned information suggests that it poses a possible health risk.
Here are a few publications which show the impact of combining CBD with statins:
- The March 2020 edition of the Pharmacist’s Guide to CBD Oil, suggested that CBD has the potential to reduce the effectiveness of statins by inhibiting the CYP3A4 liver enzyme.
- A 2020 study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, found that certain other medications may cause an increase or decrease of CBD which may affect its impact on other drugs.
Anecdotal evidence shows significant interactions of the two medications only in rare cases of long-term usage and high doses of both. Clearly, if you notice any drug interactions, consult your physician.
Pharmacologists Waiting for Patent on a Cannabinoid-Statin Medication
Colorado-based pharmacology inventors, James Smeeding and Mathew Sherwood, of Indication BioScience, have developed a medication combining a cannabinoid with a statin and are awaiting patent approval.
Their findings indicate that the use of cannabinoids may increase the efficiency of the ECS. The fact that they have developed this medication suggests that their risk/benefit assessment of a potential interaction must be quite a low risk. However, in order to satisfy the FDA, it seems reasonable to conclude that more human clinical trials will be required.
Let us hope that the use of cannabinoids plays a major role in the future of cardiovascular therapies or at the very least, may be used to relieve some of the symptoms of cardiovascular diseases.
thecannabisradar.com, CBD & Statins: Can CBD Replace Statins as Cholesterol Medication?
CBD for Cholesterol – August 2022
Why People Are Using CBD for Cholesterol Management
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that almost 29 million American adults have high cholesterol levels (6) . Having excessive cholesterol levels, bad cholesterol in particular, increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
Cholesterol can be classified into two types: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL).
LDL is known as bad cholesterol that blocks the arteries. The blockage may lead to cardiovascular diseases, like heart attack and stroke.
Meanwhile, HDL is the good cholesterol that carries lipids (fats) from other parts of the body to the liver.
High cholesterol levels may also be a sign of high levels of triglycerides (7) . These substances are a type of lipid found in the blood, like cholesterol. Unused calories stored in the body are converted into this lipid.
Similar to cholesterol, high levels of triglycerides can cause heart problems (8) .
Managing cholesterol-related complications goes beyond trying to lower cholesterol levels.
An increase in good cholesterol or HDL lowers the risk of individuals developing conditions, such as stroke (9) .
Some statins, the conventional prescription medications for cholesterol, boost HDL levels to aid in transporting the bad cholesterol from the arteries to the liver (10) .
However, the use of statins may have side effects, like liver damage and rhabdomyolysis (11) .
Rhabdomyolysis, a condition where the muscles break down rapidly, could lead to kidney failure.
An animal study showed that cannabidiol (CBD) increased good cholesterol in the test subjects (12) .
CBD is the non-psychoactive compound abundant in hemp plants, a variety of cannabis plants.
In the study, which was conducted on obese mice models, the animals were treated with CBD for four weeks. Results showed a 55% increase in HDL cholesterol levels and a 25% decrease in total cholesterol levels.
The authors also observed reduced triglyceride levels in the test subjects.
Thus, CBD’s effects on cholesterol may be similar to medications under the statins drug class. However, compared with statins, CBD’s safety profile may be more favorable.
CBD’s common side effects are minimal, including diarrhea, tiredness, and changes in appetite or weight (13) .
High blood pressure or hypertension can also be linked to high cholesterol levels (14) . When arteries are blocked with cholesterol, it gets harder for the heart to pump, which leads to an increase in blood pressure.
People with diabetes and high cholesterol are at higher risk for cardiovascular complications and need proven cholesterol medications like statins. CBD may be a helpful adjunctive, but should never replace established medications prescribed by your doctor.
In a study, healthy volunteers were administered CBD to see if it could reduce blood pressure (15) . Blood pressure is defined in this study as the body’s response to stress.
Several tests were conducted to induce stress in the volunteers and to increase blood pressure. Results showed that a single dose of CBD reduced blood pressure during the pre-stress and post-stress tests.
Cholesterol is a fat-like and waxy substance essential in hormone and vitamin D production and food digestion.
It can be found in food, like animal meat, dairy products, fried and processed foods. Too much of these fatty and oily foods can increase cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol build-up may come with age. Its development depends on one’s lifestyle and dietary choices.
How CBD Oil Works to Help Cholesterol Management
Having high cholesterol has no symptoms. However, it can lead to several complications, such as stroke and heart attack (16) .
CBD for Stroke
In a study conducted in patients with ischemic stroke, CBD has shown potential as a protective agent in preventing post-ischemic injury by increasing cerebral blood flow. This action also has a therapeutic mechanism in oxidative disorders (17) .
Ischemic stroke, the most common type of stroke, occurs when the artery that supplies blood to the brain gets blocked.
In another study, CBD decreased tissue damage and inflammatory protein release in cell injury in the early phases of stroke (18) .
The researchers also tested the compound’s effects three days after the ischemic stroke and found that CBD still had cerebroprotective effects.
CBD for Heart Attack
In an experiment conducted on rats, CBD demonstrated its cardioprotective function by reducing the size of the damaged area where arteries are blocked during a heart attack (19) .
Consequently, the same test was given to the same condition ex vivo (outside the test subject). However, the results were the opposite.
The size reduction of the artery’s damaged area in vivo (inside the test subjects) may be related to the compound’s anti-inflammatory properties.
In another study with rabbits as test subjects, the researchers found that CBD helped reduce the size of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and contributed to the restoration of the heart’s left ventricular function (20) .
AMI, which literally means “death of heart muscle,” is also referred to as heart attack (21) .
A review published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology outlined CBD’s potential cardioprotective properties. These positive effects on the heart include CBD’s purported attenuation of cardiovascular response to several types of stress (22) .
The researchers also stated that CBD might have a protective role in reducing the damages in models of stroke.
The Pros and Cons of CBD Oil for Cholesterol
- Compared to most cholesterol prescription drugs that can cause severe side effects, CBD may be safer to use (23) .
- Studies previously mentioned showed CBD’s potential therapeutic effects on complications related to bad cholesterol build-up.
- CBD products may be purchased over-the-counter without a doctor’s prescription in states and areas where they are legally available.
- There is a lack of studies that can provide evidence that CBD helps lower cholesterol levels.
- The use of CBD for treating medical conditions other than epilepsy has not been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (24) .
- Some CBD products have unverified claims that can harm users. FDA has posted a warning about these false claims (25) .
How CBD Oil Compares to Alternative Treatments for High Cholesterol
Daily physical activity can help increase HDL levels and reduce the risks of cardiovascular complications (26) .
Dietary supplements and food rich in omega-3 can also lower triglyceride levels (27) .
Like these treatments, CBD oil may be explored as a substance that could help improve cholesterol levels and relieve high cholesterol-related complications.
Similar to food that can lower triglyceride levels, CBD products that use hemp oil as their carrier oil contain nutrients that may lower lipid levels in the body.
Hempseed oil, extracted from pressing hemp seeds, contains omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids (28) .
How to Choose the Right CBD Oil for Cholesterol
In choosing which type of CBD oil to use, it is best to know what components each type has.
From its name, CBD isolate is made from isolated cannabidiol.
The CBD type that uses almost all phytocompounds from the cannabis plant is called broad-spectrum CBD. It does not contain the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol or THC.
Full-spectrum CBD contains all the compounds present in the hemp plant. These compounds include phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.
Among the three, the full-spectrum CBD type is preferred. It is believed to create an entourage effect, the maximum synergistic effect of all the compounds present in the Cannabis sativa plant.
CBD Dosage for Cholesterol
There is no standard CBD dosage, as it is dependent on several factors, including body weight, body chemistry, medical condition, and CBD concentration of the product.
First-time users may start with low dosages, about 20 to 40mg of CBD per day. After a week, dosages may be increased by 5mg if desired results are not achieved.
A study showed that up to 1,500mg of CBD per day is well-tolerated (29) . Still, it is best to consult a doctor on the right CBD dosage or other medication choice for cholesterol management.
How to Take CBD Oil for Cholesterol
Conventional ways of taking CBD products include oral ingestion or inhalation.
CBD oil and tinctures are common ways to ingest CBD. Both forms can be taken sublingually or mixed with food or beverages.
Individuals who want to help manage their cholesterol levels may also take CBD through vape pens. The effects are instantaneous since the compound goes directly through the bloodstream when inhaled.
However, it is essential to note that vaping may cause lung problems (30) .
The Legality of CBD
The use of CBD for medical purposes is allowed in 18 out of 50 states and territories in the United States (31) .
Virginia, Wisconsin, and Kansas have legalized the use of CBD for any medical condition diagnosed by a physician.
Iowa and Georgia have also permitted the use of the compound for chronic and intractable pain relief.
CBD products for medicinal purposes should contain 10% to 15% of CBD and no more than 0.3% to 0.5% of THC, with both figures based on the product volume.
Not all cholesterol is harmful to the body. Good cholesterol is essential to overall health. Meanwhile, bad cholesterol may result in complications in different regions of the body, like the cardiovascular system.
CBD oil may be used to manage cholesterol levels. It has suggested health benefits, like regulating heart health and preventing stroke.
It is important to ask for a trusted physician’s advice before using any CBD product and never self-diagnose or self-treat .
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- Hayakawa, K., Mishima, K., & Fujiwara, M. (2010). Therapeutic Potential of Non-Psychotropic Cannabidiol in Ischemic Stroke. Pharmaceuticals (Basel, Switzerland) , 3 (7), 2197–2212. https://doi.org/10.3390/ph3072197
- High Cholesterol. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://strokefoundation.org.au/About-Stroke/Prevent-Stroke/High%20cholesterol
- Stanley, C. P., Hind, W. H., & O’Sullivan, S. E. (2013). Is the cardiovascular system a therapeutic target for cannabidiol?. British journal of clinical pharmacology , 75 (2), 313–322. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2125.2012.04351.x
- Gidding, S. S., & Allen, N. B. (2019, May 29). Cholesterol and Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease: A Lifelong Problem. Retrieved from https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/JAHA.119.012924
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, April 2). High Cholesterol Facts. https://www.cdc.gov/cholesterol/facts.htm
- Bitzur, R., Cohen, H., Kamari, Y., Shaish, A., & Harats, D. (2009). Triglycerides and HDL cholesterol: stars or second leads in diabetes?. Diabetes care, 32 Suppl 2(Suppl 2), S373–S377. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc09-S343
- High Cholesterol. op. cit.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. (2018, October 24). HDL cholesterol: How to boost your ‘good’ cholesterol. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/hdl-cholesterol/art-20046388
- Golomb, B. A., & Evans, M. A. (2008). Statin adverse effects : a review of the literature and evidence for a mitochondrial mechanism. American journal of cardiovascular drugs : drugs, devices, and other interventions, 8(6), 373–418. https://doi.org/10.2165/0129784-200808060-00004
- Jadoon, K.A. op. cit.
- Iffland, K., & Grotenhermen, F. (2017). An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies. Cannabis and cannabinoid research , 2 (1), 139–154. https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2016.0034
- Sakurai, M., Stamler, J., Miura, K., Brown, I. J., Nakagawa, H., Elliott, P., Ueshima, H., Chan, Q., Tzoulaki, I., Dyer, A. R., Okayama, A., Zhao, L., & INTERMAP Research Group (2011). Relationship of dietary cholesterol to blood pressure: the INTERMAP study. Journal of hypertension, 29(2), 222–228. https://doi.org/10.1097/HJH.0b013e32834069a5
- Durst, Ronen & Danenberg, Haim & Gallily, Ruth & Mechoulam, Raphael & Meir, Keren & Grad, Etty & Beeri, Ronen & Pugatsch, Thea & Tarsish, Elizabet & Lotan, Chaim. (2007). Cannabidiol, a nonpsychoactive Cannabis constituent, protects against myocardial ischemic reperfusion injury. American journal of physiology. Heart and circulatory physiology. 293. H3602-7. 10.1152/ajpheart.00098.2007.
- Avci, E., Dolapoglu, A., & Akgun, D. E. (2018). Role of Cholesterol as a Risk Factor in Cardiovascular Diseases. Cholesterol – Good, Bad and the Heart, N/D. https://doi.org/10.5772/intechopen.76357
- Hayakawa, K. op. cit.
- Hayakawa, K., Irie, K., Sano, K., Watanabe, T., Higuchi, S., Enoki, M., Nakano, T., Harada, K., Ishikane, S., Ikeda, T., Fujioka, M., Orito, K., Iwasaki, K., Mishima, K., & Fujiwara, M. (2009). Therapeutic Time Window of Cannabidiol Treatment on Delayed Ischemic Damage via High-Mobility Group Box1-Inhibiting Mechanism. Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 32(9), 1538–1544. https://doi.org/10.1248/bpb.32.1538
- Jadoon, K. A., Tan, G. D., & O’Sullivan, S. E. (2017). A single dose of cannabidiol reduces blood pressure in healthy volunteers in a randomized crossover study. JCI insight, 2(12), e93760. https://doi.org/10.1172/jci.insight.93760
- Feng, Y., Chen, F., Yin, T., Xia, Q., Liu, Y., Huang, G., Zhang, J., Oyen, R., & Ni, Y. (2015). Pharmacologic Effects of Cannabidiol on Acute Reperfused Myocardial Infarction in Rabbits. Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology, 66(4), 354–363. https://doi.org/10.1097/fjc.0000000000000287
- Heart attack. (2020, June 16). Retrieved July 22, 2020, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-attack/symptoms-causes/syc-20373106
- Stanley, C. P. op. Cit.
- Iffland, K. op. Cit.
- Food and Drug Administration. (2020, January 14). FDA and Cannabis: Research and Drug Approval Process. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/news-events/public-health-focus/fda-and-cannabis-research-and-drug-approval-process
- Food and Drug Administration. (2020, March 5). What to Know About Products Containing Cannabis and CBD. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/what-you-need-know-and-what-were-working-find-out-about-products-containing-cannabis-or-cannabis
- Mann, S., Beedie, C., & Jimenez, A. (2014). Differential effects of aerobic exercise, resistance training and combined exercise modalities on cholesterol and the lipid profile: review, synthesis and recommendations. Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), 44(2), 211–221. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-013-0110-5
- Skulas-Ray, A. C., Wilson, P. W. F., Harris, W. S., Brinton, E. A., Kris-Etherton, P. M., Richter, C. K., Jacobson, T. A., Engler, M. B., Miller, M., Robinson, J. G., Blum, C. B., Rodriguez-Leyva, D., de Ferranti, S. D., & Welty, F. K. (2019). Omega-3 Fatty Acids for the Management of Hypertriglyceridemia: A Science Advisory From the American Heart Association. Circulation, 140(12), N/D. https://doi.org/10.1161/cir.0000000000000709
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- Bergamaschi MM, Queiroz RH, Zuardi AW, et al. . Safety and side effects of cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent. Curr Drug Saf. 2011;6:237–249
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CBD For High Cholesterol: Can Hemp Oil Lower Your Cholesterol Levels?
High cholesterol levels (also called hypercholesterolemia) increase your risk of developing chronic medical diseases. Fatty deposits accumulate in your blood vessels, causing problems such as hypertension, diabetes, and atherosclerosis, etc. If left untreated, these may result in stroke and heart attack.
Studies suggest that CBD may help control high cholesterol levels. It also has properties that reduce health risks associated with this medical problem.
This article talks about CBD and cholesterol, how CBD affects hypercholesterolemia, and how to use CBD for this health concern.
What is Cholesterol?
The liver naturally produces cholesterol, and we can also get these fat-like compounds from the foods we eat like dairy products and meat.
We need cholesterol to function properly. Our cells use them to make other substances like vitamins and hormones. Cholesterol also helps maintain the integrity of the cell’s membrane.
For a healthy cholesterol level though, there should be a good balance between the good cholesterol or high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and the bad cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein (LDL).
The good cholesterol removes excess cholesterol from the body, while the bad cholesterol transports excess cholesterol to other parts of the body.
Unfortunately, factors like lifestyle choices, health problems, medications, or even stress can easily disrupt their balance, resulting in an increased bad cholesterol level. The bad cholesterol accumulates inside the blood vessels and causes them to harden and become narrower.
What are the Effects of High Bad Cholesterol Levels?
Hypercholesterolemia is a condition where there’s an unhealthy level of serum total cholesterol (more than 200 mg/dl). The causes may either be genetics or acquired (eating high-cholesterol food and a sedentary lifestyle, for example). High cholesterol levels may also be worsened by medications and chronic medical illnesses like chronic kidney disease and diabetic diseases.
Symptoms of hypercholesterolemia include chest pain, shortness of breath, feeling tired all the time, etc., but the diagnosis will only be confirmed by doing a blood test.
If left untreated, your high cholesterol levels can not only worsen your medical problems but cause them as well. People with hypercholesterolemia have a higher risk of developing stroke, heart attack, diabetes, and other chronic diseases
How Is Hypercholesterolemia Treated?
A conservative approach may help reduce cholesterol levels. These include:
- Better diet choices (less fat, salt, and sugar content and more fruits and leafy vegetables)
- Smoking cessation
- Going on a regular exercise program (at least 30 minutes per day for five days)
- Losing weight if you’re overweight
- Getting a good, restful sleep
- Managing your stress
If these can’t control your high cholesterol levels, then your doctor may prescribe the following medications:
- Cholesterol absorption inhibitors like ezetimibe
- Statins like lovastatin and simvastatin
- Bile acid sequestrants like colestipol
- Fibrates like Lopid
- Bempedoic acid
- Antihypertensive and antidiabetic drugs may also be prescribed if you’re diagnosed with hypertension and diabetes.
While these medications help reduce high cholesterol levels, they also produce side effects like:
- Abdominal cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Muscle pain or soreness
- Problems with short-term memory
Long-term side effects of these drugs may also increase your risk of developing diabetes mellitus type 2 and liver damage.
Recent years have seen tremendous growth in the CBD market. We use CBD not only to maintain a healthy body and mind but to control symptoms as well. CBD also produces beneficial effects that may help lower cholesterol levels and improve its associated health risks.
Before we discuss the effects of CBD on hypercholesterolemia, let’s first go over the role of the endocannabinoid system in controlling cholesterol.
The Role of the Endocannabinoid System in the Management of Cholesterol Levels
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a biological system that plays an important protective role in our body. It helps maintain balance by regulating many physiological functions such as pain, inflammation, memory, fear, sleep, pleasure, mood, emotions, appetite, hunger, and even metabolism, etc.
The ECS is made up of three components:
- The endogenous cannabinoids that activate the cannabinoid receptors
- The cannabinoid receptors type 1 and 2 (CB1R and CB2R)
- The enzymes that break down the endogenous cannabinoids
The CB1R is abundant in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) as well as in the peripheral tissues. The CB2R, on the other hand, is mostly located on the immune cells.
Under normal healthy conditions, the ECS helps modulate our physiological functions and responses to stimuli, resulting in symptom control. Its activation also results in reduced inflammation.
However, chronic medical problems like high cholesterol levels, hypertension, and diabetes damage the ECS, resulting in its dysregulation . Instead of maintaining balance, ECS dysregulation contributes to the worsening of health problems, including high cholesterol levels.
In hypercholesterolemia, cholesterol buildup damages the blood vessel walls. It also sets off an inflammatory response that attracts more immune cells to the site. The more immune cells that go to the damaged blood vessel, the narrower the blood vessel becomes as more debris accumulates. If a chunk breaks off, it could travel to other parts of the body as a blood clot and cause a stroke or congestive heart failure .
How Does CBD Benefit People with High Cholesterol Levels?
Cannabidiol or CBD is just one of over a hundred types of cannabinoids. A non-psychoactive compound, CBD doesn’t bind very well to the CB1R but can directly activate the CB2R. CBD can also stimulate other receptors that help reduce high cholesterol levels and associated risks.
Reduces Blood Sugar Levels
Insulin resistance links high blood sugar levels with high cholesterol levels. The cells become less sensitive and responsive to insulin (the hormone that carries glucose into the cell for energy conversion), resulting in the accumulation of sugar in the blood and changes in cholesterol levels. The good cholesterol level decreases, allowing the bad cholesterol and triglycerides (fat) to build up and cause fatty deposits or plaques along the blood vessel wall. High cholesterol levels also contribute to the development of diabetes .
A study published in the Diabetes Care Journal notes that CBD decreases resistin levels. Resistin is a compound produced by fat cells and immune cells. It increases insulin resistance and cellular inflammation. This shows that CBD can help lower insulin resistance levels which gives its potential to relieve and lessen the symptoms of diabetes. CBD also increases gastric inhibitory polypeptide (GIP) levels. GIP is a compound that stimulates the pancreas to produce and secrete insulin .
Reduces Inflammation of the Blood Vessel Walls
Fatty plaques cause narrowing and hardening of the blood vessel walls, resulting in injury. The presence of these small injuries attracts immune cells to the site. As they flock to the site, they also get trapped by the fatty plaques. Instead of helping the blood vessel walls heal, the immune cells contribute more to the damage, further weakening the walls .
As the plaque grows, it increases the risk of blood clot formations. These can block the blood vessel or get dislodged and travel to other parts of the body, causing a heart attack or a stroke.
When CBD binds to the CB2R, it produces a powerful anti-inflammatory effect. CBD triggers the cell death of these abnormal immune cells, preventing them from sending signals that attract more immune cells to the site. Additionally, CBD also protects the blood vessels from the damages caused by high sugar levels, which make immune cells adhere more to the plaques .
Reduces High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure or hypertension occurs when the pressure of blood against the blood vessel wall becomes higher than normal (greater than 120/80 mmHg). Many factors cause hypertension, including high salt, sugar, and cholesterol levels. These get deposited along the walls of the blood vessels, causing them to harden and become narrower. Hard and narrow blood vessels make it difficult for blood to flow freely, increasing the blood pressure against the walls .
A study published in the Journal of Hypertension shows that CBD dilates the blood vessel walls. It effectively reduced high blood pressure in patients dealing with hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and overweight. The same study also found that CBD reduces hypertension caused by stress .
You may not know this but stress (especially chronic stress) affects your cholesterol level. Stress causes your cells to release excitatory chemicals like cortisol and adrenaline. These chemicals increase your fasting blood sugar level and affect your normal cholesterol level .
CBD helps decrease stress by acting on the serotonin receptor. This receptor helps control your reaction to stress. This CBD effect also relieves anxiety and depression, both of which contribute to chronic stress .
Reduces Appetite and Weight
Being overweight increases your risk of developing high cholesterol levels, diabetes, and hypertension. It also makes you more vulnerable to heart attacks, stroke, and respiratory problems .
Studies suggest that CBD may be an effective agent for weight loss. Compared to THC which binds well to the CB1R, CBD acts more like an antagonist to this receptor. It stimulates the receptor’s allosteric site, a site different from the receptor’s active site which THC binds to. Instead of increasing appetite as THC does, CBD suppresses appetite and weakens food cravings .
Reduces Nicotine Consumption
Nicotine alters your normal cholesterol levels. It decreases the levels of your good cholesterol and increases your bad cholesterol levels. Nicotine also constricts the blood vessel walls, contributes to fatty plaque development, and thickens the blood .
CBD may help with nicotine addiction. It can dampen your cravings for nicotine, and it can also help reduce symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. According to one randomized controlled trial, CBD helped reduce tobacco consumption by about 40% .
Is CBD Safe?
The World Health Organization states that CBD has a relatively good safety profile . Not only is it non-psychoactive but non-toxic and non-addictive as well.
There may be some minor side effects such as eye and mouth dryness, change in bowel movements, drowsiness, and even fatigue, but these are usually well-tolerated by CBD users. These side effects also disappear once the body gets used to CBD.
Where to Buy CBD?
You can buy hemp-derived CBD products in health stores, dispensaries, and online CBD shops. There’s no age limit to buy hemp-derived CBD, nor are there any possession restrictions. You also don’t need to obtain a doctor’s recommendation to buy hemp-derived CBD.
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the use of industrial hemp and all its parts, provided its THC level doesn’t exceed 0.3% . This includes not just its flowers, leaves, stems, seeds but its cannabinoids, derivatives, extracts, acids, isomers, etc. as well.
As for marijuana-derived CBD products, these are only available in states that legalized medical cannabis. Marijuana (any cannabis plant that has more than 0.3% THC) remains illegal on a federal level.
Before buying CBD, always check your state’s cannabis laws.
What are the Factors to Look for When Buying CBD?
CBD’s popularity made it easier for us to buy CBD products. You’ll find different CBD brands with varying potencies and flavors.
Because CBD has now become a part of many people’s health routines, its popularity has also made us more vulnerable to scammers offering substandard products.
To avoid mistakes when buying CBD oil products, be mindful of these factors.
Types of CBD
There are three types of CBD:
- CBD isolate which contains only pure CBD
- Broad-spectrum CBD oil which has CBD, other cannabinoids, and terpenes
- Full-spectrum CBD oil which has CBD, other cannabinoids, terpenes, and THC
All are great products, but if you’re after a more potent effect, choose full-spectrum CBD oil. The addition of THC makes the product stronger since THC amplifies the beneficial effects of the other cannabinoids and terpenes.
Forms of CBD
The most common forms of CBD include:
- Sublingual CBD (oils and tinctures)
- Inhalable CBD (flowers, concentrates, and vapes)
- Edibles (brownies, chocolate, candies, gummies)
- Topicals (lotions, creams, balms, ointments)
Sublingual, inhalable, topical, and suppository CBD products offer fast onset of effects (less than 30 minutes). CBD is quickly absorbed by the cells and goes directly into the bloodstream.
The effects of edibles, on the other hand, may take some time (about 30 minutes to 1.5 hours) since CBD passes through the digestive organs and the liver. However, its effects last longer since CBD stays in the system for a longer period.
Choose CBD sourced from organically grown hemp and extracted using a safe and clean method like the supercritical CO2 extraction process. These reduce the risk of contamination caused by artificial pesticides and pathogenic microbes.
Again, check your state’s cannabis laws before buying marijuana-derived CBD.
Laboratory Test Results
Stay away from CBD products that don’t have any certificate of analysis. Legitimate CBD producers send product samples to certified third parties for testing. These laboratory tests check for the presence of residual solvents, heavy metals, toxic residues, harmful pesticides, pathogens (bacteria and fungus), etc.
These tests also make sure that the products contain their stated potency by checking their cannabinoid profile and levels.
You’ll know you have a good CBD product by the number of positive reviews it received. These reviews help you get a good idea of the product’s effects (and side effects, if any).
How Do You Find the Best CBD Dose?
The best doses for:
- General health and mild symptoms – use low-strength CBD or 1 mg of CBD for every 10 pounds of your body weight
- Moderate symptoms – use medium-strength CBD or 3 mg of CBD for every 10 pounds of your body weight
- Severe symptoms – use high-strength CBD or 6 mg of CBD for every 10 pounds of your body weight
For example, you bought 1500 mg of CBD in a 30 mL bottle. First, divide 1500 by 30. This gives you about 50 mg of CBD per one full dropper. Because one dropper has about 20 drops, then one drop gives you about 2.5 mg of CBD.
Let’s say you weigh 150 pounds and want to use it for moderate symptoms, then divide 150 by 10, giving you 15. Multiply 15 by 3, and this gives you 45. This means you need 45 mg of CBD or 18 drops for your moderate symptoms.
You can also lower your starting dose to avoid side effects. Just listen to how your body responds to CBD and adjust the dose accordingly.
If side effects occur, then lower the dose. If there’s no improvement even after three to five days, you can increase it a little bit. Using the low-and-slow pattern, you’ll soon find a dose that works for your health problems.
Don’t just rely on CBD to help lower your high cholesterol levels. Going on a healthy diet and exercise program as well as smoking cessation help a lot in managing your abnormal cholesterol levels.
Final Thoughts — Can CBD Help with Your High Cholesterol Levels?
Can you take CBD for your high cholesterol levels?
Yes, CBD has many properties that may help reduce your cholesterol levels. It helps improve several factors that increase your bad cholesterol levels like blood sugar, stress, appetite, weight, and nicotine. At the same time, CBD also helps reduce risks associated with high cholesterol levels like hypertension, diabetes, stroke, etc.
CBD is safe and can be added to your daily health regimen. If you’re going to use CBD for high cholesterol levels, we recommend seeing your primary care physician. Your doctor can help you come up with a good CBD plan for your medical problems.
Do you use CBD for cholesterol problems? How has it helped you so far? Let us know in the comment section below.
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Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.