A small study published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine, by researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, has shown that medical cannabis may reduce blood pressure in older adults.
According to 8 February 2021 material from American Associates, Ben-Gurion University, the study is the first of its kind to focus on the effects of cannabis on blood pressure, heart rate and metabolic parameters in adults 60 and above 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 Ben-Gurion University’s Faculty of Health Sciences, one of Israel's leading medical faculties, and the university’s Soroka Cannabis Clinical Research Institute.
"This study is part of our ongoing effort to provide clinical research on the actual physiological effects of cannabis over time."
Patients were evaluated using 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, ECG, blood tests and body measurements – both before and three months after initiating cannabis therapy.
In the study, researchers found a significant reduction in 24-hour systolic and diastolic blood pressure values, with the lowest point occurring three hours after ingesting cannabis either orally via oil extracts or by smoking. Patients showed reductions in blood pressure in both day time and night time, with more significant changes at night.
The Ben-Gurion researchers theorise that the relief from pain, the indication for prescription cannabis in most patients, may also have contributed to a reduction in blood pressure.
"Cannabis research is in its early stages and Ben-Gurion University 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 Ben-Gurion University on the medicinal benefits of cannabis."
American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev says it plays a vital role in sustaining David Ben-Gurion's vision: creating a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the university's expertise locally and around the globe.
Cannabis is associated with blood pressure reduction in older adults – A 24-hours ambulatory blood pressure monitoring study
Ran Abuhasira, Yosef S Haviv, Merav Leiba, Adi Leiba, Larisa Ryvo and Victor Novack
Author affiliations: Ben-Gurion University (BGU) of the Negev, BGU-Soroka Cannabis Clinical Research Institute, BGU-Soroka Clinical Research Center and Research Authority, Department of Nephrology at Soroka and the Assuta Ashdod Academic Medical Center.
Published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine on 20 January 2021.
Medical cannabis use is increasing rapidly in the past several years, with older adults being the fastest growing group. Nevertheless, the evidence for cardiovascular safety of cannabis use is scarce. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of cannabis on blood pressure, heart rate, and metabolic parameters in older adults with hypertension.
We conducted a prospective study of patients aged 60 years or more with hypertension and a new prescription of cannabis. We have performed the following assessments: 24-hours ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, ECG, blood tests, and anthropometric measurements prior to the initiation of cannabis therapy and 3 months afterward. The primary outcome was change in mean 24-h blood pressure at 3 months.
Twenty-six patients with a mean age of 70.42 ± 5.37 years, 53.8% females completed the study. At 3 months follow-up, the mean 24-hours systolic and diastolic blood pressures were reduced by 5.0 mmHg and 4.5 mmHg, respectively (p<0.001 for both).
The nadir for the blood pressure and heart rate was achieved at 3 hours post-administration. The proportion of normal dippers changed from 27.3% before treatment to 45.5% afterward.
No significant changes were seen in the different metabolic parameters assessed by blood tests, anthropometric measurements, or ECG exam.
Amongst older adults with hypertension, cannabis treatment for 3 months was associated with a reduction in 24-hours systolic and diastolic blood pressure values with a nadir at 3 hours after cannabis administration.
News release – Cannabis reduces blood pressure in older adults, according to Ben-Gurion University researchers (Open access)
European Journal of Internal Medicinearticle – Cannabis is associated with blood pressure reduction in older adults – A 24-hours ambulatory blood pressure monitoring study (Restricted access)
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