Researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Israel have found that medical cannabis may reduce blood pressure in older adults.
"Older adults are the fastest-growing group of medical cannabis users, yet evidence on cardiovascular safety for this population is scarce," says Dr. Ran Abuhasira, one of the study's authors. "This study is part of our ongoing effort to provide clinical research on the actual physiological effects of cannabis over time."
For the study, the researchers recruited 26 patients with hypertension and a new cannabis prescription. Their mean age was 70 years old. Each patient underwent 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, electrocardiogram (ECG), blood tests, and anthropometric measurements prior to cannabis therapy and again three months afterward. In doing so, the researchers were able to gain insights into how cannabis consumption affected their blood pressure, heart rate, and various metabolic parameters.
All in all, the researchers found that after three months of cannabis use, patients' systolic and diastolic blood pressures saw significant reductions, achieving their lowest point three hours after cannabis consumption either by oil extract or smoking. Patients also displayed reduced blood pressure both during the day and at night, with reductions most significant at night.
The researchers say that part of the drop in blood pressure may have come from pain relief following cannabis use. Metabolic parameters, however, as assessed by blood tests, anthropometric measurements, and ECG remained unchanged.
"Cannabis research is in its early stages and BGU is at the forefront of evaluating clinical use based on scientific studies," says Doug Seserman, chief executive officer of American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. "This new study is one of several that has been published recently by BGU on the medicinal benefits of cannabis."