Hypertension (HTN or HT), also known as high blood pressure (HBP), is a long term medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is persistently elevated. High blood pressure usually does not cause symptoms. Long term high blood pressure, however, is a major risk factor for coronary artery disease, stroke, heart failure, peripheral vascular disease, vision loss, and chronic kidney disease.

High blood pressure is classified as either primary (essential) high blood pressure or secondary high blood pressure. About 90–95% of cases are primary, defined as high blood pressure due to nonspecific lifestyle and genetic factors. Lifestyle factors that increase the risk include excess salt, excess body weight, smoking, and alcohol. The remaining 5–10% of cases are categorized as secondary high blood pressure, defined as high blood pressure due to an identifiable cause, such as chronic kidney disease, narrowing of the kidney arteries, an endocrine disorder, or the use of birth control pills.

Medical Marijuana Efficacy

The body’s internal cannabinoid system plays an important role in regulating blood pressure, but further research is required to fully understand the exact mechanisms.

Recent studies indicate that the endogenous cannabinoid system has a role to play in regulating blood pressure, though its method of action is not well understood. Animal studies demonstrate that anandamide and other endocannabinoids profoundly suppress cardiac contractility in hypertension and can normalize blood pressure, leading some experts to speculate that the manipulation of the endocannabinoid system “may offer novel therapeutic approaches in a variety of cardiovascular disorders.”

The administration of natural cannabinoids has yielded conflicting cardiovascular effects on humans and laboratory animals. The vascular response in humans administered cannabis in experimental conditions is typically characterized by a mild increase in heart rate and blood pressure. However, complete tolerance to these effects develops quickly and potential health risks appear minimal.