High blood pressure is a common medical condition that can cause a variety of cardiovascular complications, including heart failure, heart attack, and stroke. Fortunately, high blood pressure can be managed by eating a particular diet, exercising, and following a generally healthy lifestyle. On the other hand, some people believe that smoking weed for high blood pressure is an effective remedy, but is this true? How does marijuana affect blood pressure?
What Is High Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure refers to the force at which the blood is pumped into the arteries by the heart. A blood pressure reading consists of two numbers, one stacked on the other. The top number is your systolic blood pressure, which is the amount of pressure during heart contractions. The bottom number is your diastolic blood pressure, which is the pressure in the heart between heartbeats.
A normal or healthy blood pressure reading is 120/80 or lower, but this depends on other factors. High blood pressure (hypertension) is a condition that occurs when the force of blood pressing against the inside of the arteries is too high. High blood pressure readings usually start at 140/90.
Many people with high blood pressure don’t immediately experience any symptoms, which is why the condition is often referred to as a “silent killer.” High blood pressure can be caused by different factors, such as sleep apnea, kidney disease, thyroid problems, adrenal gland tumors, certain drugs or medications, and more.
If left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to problems like:
- Heart disease
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Peripheral arterial disease (narrowed or blocked vessels that carry blood from the heart to the legs)
- Kidney disease
- Aortic aneurysm (occurs when a balloon-like-bulge in the large artery that carries blood from the heart throughout the chest and torso bursts, causing blood to leak between layers of the artery wall)
- Vascular dementia (refers to problems with memory, reasoning, judgment, and other thought processes caused by brain damage from impaired blood flow to the brain)
Blood pressure readings can vary, so if you ever have any questions or problems with your blood pressure, speak to your doctor.
Does Smoking Weed Cause High Blood Pressure?
Some experts believe that marijuana or weed can cause high blood pressure and affect the heart in various ways. According to a study on the cardiovascular consequences of cannabis use, marijuana does cause high blood pressure as well as an increased likelihood of onset of myocardial infarction.1 This is likely linked to the dose of marijuana used as well as the concentration of THC – marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient.
For this reason, not only can smoking weed with high blood pressure be dangerous, but those who didn’t have previous problems with their blood pressure might experience some if they get into marijuana use. On the other hand, despite the evidence that marijuana raises blood pressure, it can also lead to a sudden drop in blood pressure when someone stands up too quickly, a condition known as orthostatic hypotension.
You can still experience orthostatic hypotension and have high blood pressure. Research has also discovered that chest pain occurred sooner in people exposed to weed, meaning the drug could increase the risk of a heart attack.1
Marijuana can also indirectly impact your blood pressure by opening up your appetite. The all-consuming hunger that marijuana users often experience while high is also referred to as the “munchies.” It’s a running joke that people high on weed often consume large amounts of fatty, sugary, and carb-filled foods, all of which can increase blood pressure.
While more research needs to be done, it’s best to avoid marijuana use altogether, not only because of its impact on the body but also because of its influence as a gateway drug. Weed may seem mild, but it often opens the doorway to using harder drugs like cocaine and heroin, which may necessitate stimulant and opioid addiction treatment for a safe recovery.
Many people underestimate the dangers of marijuana. But the truth is that weed sold on the streets is often laced with other dangerous chemicals and substances that increase the likelihood of health complications like intoxication. For instance, a growing drug trend is fentanyl-laced weed. Fentanyl is a highly potent and addictive opioid that can easily cause a fatal overdose.
Your safest bet is to avoid drug use altogether, but for those who are struggling with drug addiction, help is available. Call Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches today at 561-220-3981 to find out more about our addiction treatment in Lake Worth, FL.