Marijuana can quickly reduce blood pressure among older adults, study says

BE’ER SHEVA, Israel — Marijuana has an age-old reputation of helping to calm people down. Now, researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev find medical cannabis can also help older adults lower their blood pressure. Considering stress and anger often go hand-in-hand with high blood pressure, these findings suggest marijuana’s trademark calming effects offer more benefits than the stereotypical “high.”

This is the first scientific study ever to focus on the influence of marijuana on blood pressure, heart rate, and other metabolic considerations among adults over the age of 60 living with hypertension.

“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 of the BGU Faculty of Health Sciences and the BGU-Soroka Cannabis Clinical Research Institute in a university release. “This study is part of our ongoing effort to provide clinical research on the actual physiological effects of cannabis over time.”

All study participants used marijuana for a period of three months. Both before and after that, researchers evaluated each person for a full 24-hour period via blood tests, body measurements, blood pressure monitoring, and ECG.

‘Lowest blood pressure readings just three hours after consuming marijuana’

After using cannabis, researchers noted a reduction in both 24-hour systolic and diastolic blood pressure values. Moreover, the team discovered the lowest blood pressure readings just three hours after the participants consumed marijuana, either via edible oil extracts or by smoking it. While blood pressure levels tended to drop a bit more at night, the day time also saw major hypertension benefits.

Study authors also mention the pain relief provided by marijuana may play a role in the plant’s blood pressure benefits.

“Cannabis research is in its early stages and BGU is at the forefront of evaluating clinical use based on scientific studies,” concludes 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.”

The study is published in European Journal of Internal Medicine.