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February is heart health month, so let’s review how to keep our cardiovascular system well.
The heart beats over 100,000 times per day, sending rich oxygenated blood through our arteries to nourish our cells. Veins return the used blood, waste, and carbon dioxide to the heart and lungs to reload with oxygen and circulate again. Arterial walls dilate and contract as blood flows, and micro-injuries can damage them causing inflammation, allowing plaque to build up inside these vessels. Cholesterol contributes to making these plaques and is comprised of lipoproteins (LDL & HDL) that are crucial for cell wall structure, digestion, and hormones. The body is all about balance though and too much cholesterol, especially LDL is not good.
Can cannabinoids play a part in restoring heart health?
Early research shows higher HDL (good) and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in long-term cannabis users. Our Western diet, lack of exercise, and stress cause high blood pressure, and that causes atherosclerosis or thickening of the arteries with inflammatory compounds. When cells are inflamed, CB2 receptors are expressed, asking for the ECS messengers to restore balance. Because many of us are deficient in endocannabinoids, errors go uncorrected, and the plaque continues to build up in our arteries. This can cause a heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, and atherosclerosis. Because the ECS plays a crucial role in health, activating CB2 with phytocannabinoids can turn down inflammation and restore balance.
We can repair much of this damage by eating a plant-based diet, exercising, drinking enough water, managing our stress, and yes, supplementing with phytocannabinoids from the cannabis plant.
Signaling errors are not corrected overnight, and long-term supplementation with CBD may be needed. Over the years, many of my clients have improved their blood pressure and metabolic panels, allowing some to reduce their pharmaceuticals. Medications may interact with cannabinoids, especially for drugs with a narrow therapeutic window. This is because high doses of CBD may alter the liver enzymes that process those drugs, causing them to be either more or less effective. A medical professional can help you evaluate these concerns.
After 2+ years of COVID, we have all experienced incredible levels of stress. Stress can wreak havoc on every system in our body – especially the heart. Bring down your stress with exercise, healthy hobbies, connecting with friends and family, and vibrant nutrition. Cannabis is loved around the world for helping people calm down and breathe. Supplementing with whole-plant CBD tinctures is an easy way to boost overall heart health.