CBD and Congestive Heart Failure: Can It Help?
In the United States, around 655,000 people die each year from heart failure.
That’s a lot of people.
As with most things, prevention is better than a cure. CBD isn’t the cure for congestive heart failure, but studies suggest it may help prevent it.
So, how can CBD help, and what’s the best type of CBD for preventing congestive heart failure (CHF)?
Can CBD Prevent Congestive Heart Failure?
Congestive heart failure happens after many years of blocked arteries, high blood pressure, or damaged chambers. This can be caused by a number of different health issues, the main of which are listed above.
CBD can help prevent congestive heart failure by treating a number of the conditions raised earlier. If these conditions can be controlled, the risk of heart failure can be decreased.
It’s not 100% clear if CBD will help prevent heart failure completely. However, several benefits may help in conjunction with lifestyle changes, and in some cases, other medications.
It’s important to note that CBD may interact with prescription and over-the-counter medications, so you should always consult your doctor before using CBD to treat a condition that could lead to congestive heart failure.
If you’re suffering from obesity, diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure, CBD may help reduce symptoms and even aid in getting better. This could be a huge factor in reducing the chances of heart failure.
What is Congestive Heart Failure?
Congestive heart failure, also known simply as heart failure, occurs when the heart cannot pump enough blood around the body.
Certain conditions and diseases can leave the heart too weak or stiff to pump blood effectively. This will eventually lead to a heart attack.
The Symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure
There are a number of early warning signs for heart failure. Below are some of the more common symptoms leading up to CHF:
- Extreme fatigue & weakness
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty exercising
- Persistent cough with bloody phlegm
- Abnormal weight gain from fluid retention
- Reduced appetite & nausea when eating
- Brain fog and difficulty concentrating
- Edema (swelling in the legs, ankles, and feet)
- Chest pains
It’s important to note that these symptoms do match up with other conditions and are considered normal in some circumstances.
Don’t overthink if you’re experiencing one or two of these symptoms mildly, but make sure to check with your doctor if you’re concerned about your heart health. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
What Causes Congestive Heart Failure?
There are several conditions that can eventually lead to heart failure.
Some of these conditions are incurable but the risk of heart failure can be decreased. Some other conditions that can potentially lead to heart failure are curable and can be defeated with a few simple lifestyle changes.
Below are some of the more common conditions that are associated with heart failure.
1. Heart Disease
Heart disease is a broad term that categorizes a number of preventable and unpreventable heart conditions.
Some types, such as congenital heart defect, are genetic defects of the heart that are present for life. This can include abnormal heart valves, septal defects (holes in the heart’s chambers), and atresia (a missing heart valve).
Coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease. The arteries that supply blood to the heart can become clogged with plaque, causing them to narrow and reduce the efficiency of the heart.
In some people, coronary artery disease is preventable and curable with some lifestyle changes. For others, it’s something that must be treated for life.
Arrhythmia is when a person has an irregular heartbeat. When the electrical impulses that coordinate the muscle’s pumping function don’t work properly, the heartbeat can become irregular or pump too fast or slow.
Dilated cardiomyopathy is where the heart’s chambers become dilated. With dilated chambers, the heart becomes weaker and struggles to pump blood properly. This type of heart disease usually comes prior to heart attacks and arrhythmia.
If left untreated, heart disease can lead to heart attack and heart failure.
2. High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is where your blood pressure is higher than normal.
High blood pressure strains the heart and other organs. When you have hypertension, your heart works overtime to pump blood around your body.
The higher your blood pressure, the more risk you face for other conditions and health issues. Left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to heart disease, stroke, or a heart attack.
Put simply, diabetes affects how your body processes food into energy. It’s a chronic health condition that can be treated and controlled but has no cure.
When you eat a meal, most of the food is broken down into glucose (sugar) that is then released into the bloodstream. When blood sugar levels rise, the pancreas releases insulin to help the body use the glucose as energy.
Diabetes sufferers either don’t produce enough insulin (if any at all) or can’t utilize the insulin in the same way as a normally functioning body.
When the body has a lack of insulin or the insulin present isn’t functioning as it should, glucose can build up in the bloodstream. Over time, the excess glucose, if left untreated, can cause serious health issues including eventual heart failure.
Over 40% of the U.S population is considered obese. It comes primarily from over-eating. Obesity is mostly preventable and if you’re suffering from obesity, with the right lifestyle changes, you can combat it.
You’re considered obese when your BMI is over 30.
Subcutaneous fat is visible fat. It forms under the skin all over the body with the most common areas affected consist of the hips, buttocks, and abdominal region.
Visceral body fat (also known as hidden fat) is much more dangerous. It’s stored deep inside the belly and around the organs. It’s this fat that causes the most health implications.
Obesity puts a strain on all of your organs and the excess fat around your heart can lead to serious health issues.
Obesity can lead to heart disease, and eventually, heart attack and heart failure.
What are the Benefits of CBD for Congestive Heart Failure?
So, what are the potential benefits of CBD for congestive heart failure?
As mentioned, CBD alone isn’t going to prevent heart failure, but it can be used to treat some conditions that could lead to it.
1. CBD May Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
There is evidence that suggests some cannabinoids, including CBD, can help regulate blood sugar levels and help resolve diabetic complications .
Although the cannabinoid THC seems to regulate blood sugar more effectively than CBD, full-spectrum oil may have the same desired effect.
Lowering blood sugar levels will help reduce the damage caused by diabetes. This could be what prevents congestive heart failure in a diabetic patient.
2. CBD Helps to Fight Obesity
CBD can aid in weight loss.
Some studies suggest that supplementing a weight loss routine with CBD can help shed excess pounds . CBD promotes the browning of white fats, which makes it easier to convert the fat into burnable calories.
Obesity is one of the leading causes of congestive heart failure. If you’re obese, losing weight is essential in enhancing your health and reducing the risk of many health complications — including congestive heart failure.
3. CBD Decreases Inflammation
CBD is renowned for its anti-inflammatory benefits. This desirable trait could help prevent heart failure in the long term.
Diabetes and heart disease can cause damage to the walls of the blood vessels. This damage can cause inflammation. One study found that glucose-triggered inflammation can be relieved by CBD .
Inflamed blood vessels make it harder for the heart to pump blood around the body. Reducing this inflammation will help ease the strain on the heart, ultimately preventing further damage and potential heart failure.
4. CBD Lowers Blood Pressure
CBD lowers blood pressure.
Studies suggest that even low doses of CBD can significantly lower blood pressure .
High blood pressure (hypertension) has been directly linked to congestive heart failure. Reducing blood pressure and keeping it down consistently will help prevent congestive heart failure in the long term.
How to Use CBD For Congestive Heart Failure?
Using CBD to lose weight, control blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure, or decrease inflammation may help prevent congestive heart failure.
How you use CBD for congestive heart failure will affect the results you get. Choosing the right CBD product is vital to reaping the rewards that this cannabinoid sows.
It’s important to note that you shouldn’t use CBD alone to treat certain health conditions. A combination of lifestyle changes and other medications may be needed to get on top of some conditions.
1. Full-Spectrum, Broad-Spectrum, or Isolate?
You may have heard the terms isolate, broad-spectrum, and full-spectrum, but what’s the difference? And which is best for congestive heart failure?
CBD isolate is a pure extract of the cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol). Oils, edibles, and topicals that are made using isolate contain only CBD with no other cannabinoids or terpenes present.
CBD isolates are great if you want to avoid THC or any other cannabinoids entirely. They’re perfect for people that react badly to other cannabinoids and they have no chance of showing up on a drug test.
The only downside is you won’t get the full entourage effect as you would with a full-spectrum product. Research suggests that CBD is more effective when consumed as part of a full cannabinoid profile .
Broad-spectrum products contain CBD as well as a wide range of other cannabinoids.
Broad-spectrum oils, edibles, and topicals contain a cannabinoid profile similar to what’s in the raw hemp flower. The only cannabinoid that broad-spectrum products don’t contain is the psychoactive cannabinoid THC.
Broad-spectrum CBD is perfect for people that want to reap the benefits of the entourage effect without consuming THC. Broad-spectrum products have no chance of showing up on drug tests.
Full-spectrum CBD products contain a full cannabinoid profile. They have an identical profile to the raw hemp flower including THC in percentages lower than 0.3%.
This type of CBD is the most valuable to use for multiple health conditions and holds the most potential for preventing congestive heart failure. This is because it provides the full entourage effect.
Full-spectrum oils and edibles have THC levels that are too low to provide a “high”, but depending on how much you’re consuming, they may show up on drug tests.
2. CBD Consumption Method
There are many ways to consume CBD. Some are better than others for treating conditions that are associated with congestive heart failure. It’s important to know which products are best.
You will find all of these CBD products in isolate, broad-spectrum, and full-spectrum options.
CBD oil provides you with the most flexibility in terms of dosage. It’s also one of the best ways to consume CBD for heart failure because it’s highly bioavailable and has few additives that will trigger any undesirable effects.
You can add drops directly under the tongue or supplement meals and drinks by adding a few drops into your meal routine.
CBD edibles come in many forms. You’ll find CBD-infused honey sticks, gummies, lollipops, and more.
Edibles are fantastic if you can’t stand the taste of raw CBD oil. However, they’re not ideal for treating some conditions related to congestive heart failure.
Because of the high sugar content, you should avoid CBD edibles if you have diabetes or are struggling with obesity.
Technically edible, capsules give you a tasteless way to consume CBD without the sugar found in chewable edibles.
Capsules provide you with an accurate dosage per capsule and medicating is as easy as swallowing a pill.
CBD capsules are a great option for congestive heart failure because they contain no sugar and are relatively bioavailable.
Topicals are CBD products such as gels, creams, and balms that can be applied directly to the skin.
Although they’re great if you’re suffering from a skin condition, they pose no real value for conditions that are related to heart failure.
CBD vape liquid is heated up and inhaled as a vapor. Using CBD in this way provides maximum bioavailability as it absorbs lung tissue quickly and efficiently.
Unfortunately, there’s little known about the negative effects of vaping CBD, so if you’re suffering from a severe health condition it isn’t the first consumption method you should look at.
3. CBD Dosage for Heart Failure
CBD works differently from person to person.
The right dosage for one person won’t be correct for another, so there is some level of self-experimentation needed to find out what’s right for you.
Generally speaking, a dose between 20 and 100-milligrams per day will be effective for most conditions but it could be significantly higher or lower depending on your body weight, metabolism, and age.
As with most supplements, you should start with a low dose and work your way up until you find out what’s effective for you.
If you’ve never used CBD before it’s especially important that you test the waters with a low potency product at a low dose to find out how your body reacts to the cannabinoid.
Once you’re sure there are no negative effects, you can increase the dosage slowly until you get the desired effects.
Make sure you consult your doctor before using CBD to supplement other medications for your condition.
Final Thoughts: Can CBD Help Prevent Congestive Heart Failure?
In short, yes CBD can help prevent congestive heart failure.
CBD can help with weight loss, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Controlling these conditions may reduce the chances of heart failure.
If you’re looking at CBD as a treatment for congestive heart failure it’s important to first speak with your doctor. CBD may negatively impact other medications and treatments, so it’s of paramount importance you seek professional advice.
When looking for the best CBD product for your condition, we advise you to research the brand and check the independent lab reports. This way, you’ll be certain you’re receiving the best possible treatment.
References Used In This Article
- Horváth, B., Mukhopadhyay, P., Haskó, G., & Pacher, P. (2012). The endocannabinoid system and plant-derived cannabinoids in diabetes and diabetic complications. The American journal of pathology, 180(2), 432-442.
- Parray, H. A., & Yun, J. W. (2016). Cannabidiol promotes browning in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Molecular and cellular biochemistry, 416(1), 131-139.
- Rajesh, M., Mukhopadhyay, P., Bátkai, S., Hasko, G., Liaudet, L., Drel, V. R., … & Pacher, P. (2007). Cannabidiol attenuates high glucose-induced endothelial cell inflammatory response and barrier disruption. American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology, 293(1), H610-H619.
- Jadoon, K. A., Tan, G. D., & O’Sullivan, S. E. (2017). A single dose of cannabidiol reduces blood pressure in healthy volunteers in a randomized crossover study. JCI insight, 2(12).
- Russo, E. B. (2019). The case for the entourage effect and conventional breeding of clinical cannabis: no “strain,” no gain. Frontiers in plant science, 9, 1969.
Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.
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CBD and Heart Health
What to Know About CBD for Heart Failure, Cholesterol, and Blood Pressure
Lindsay Curtis is a health writer with over 20 years of experience in writing health, science & wellness-focused articles.
Verywell Health articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and healthcare professionals. These medical reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more.
Jeffrey S. Lander, MD, is a board-certified cardiologist and the President and Governor of the American College of Cardiology, New Jersey chapter.
Heart health is one of the areas being explored to determine the therapeutic health benefits of cannabidiol (CBD). Nearly 655,000 Americans die from heart disease every year, accounting for one in every four deaths.
CBD cannot cure heart disease or congestive heart failure, but it is being studied for ways it may help reduce symptoms or prevent heart disease. However, CBD has not been shown in large studies to prevent diseases that lead to heart failure.
Read on to learn more about CBD’s benefits for the heart, what CBD oil is, side effects, and forms of CBD oil.
Verywell / Jessica Olah
What Is CBD Oil?
Cannabidiol oil is extracted from the leaves and flowers of the cannabis plant. CBD is a chemical that’s unique to the cannabis plant. The two major cannabinoids contained in cannabis plants are:
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC): It has psychoactive properties that create a “high” feeling.
- Cannabidiol (CBD): It has no psychoactive effects but provides several therapeutic benefits.
Both CBD and THC interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the body. The ECS is a complex biological system that impacts many of the body’s functions, including appetite, memory, mood, and sleep. Researchers are learning that the endocannabinoid plays a role in the function of the cardiovascular (heart) system.
A growing body of evidence shows that dysregulated ECS is associated with a number of cardiovascular diseases. Whether you have a heart condition or want to prevent heart disease, CBD may boost your endocannabinoid system to help it regulate the cardiovascular system.
Overview of Heart Failure
Heart disease is an umbrella term that refers to several types of heart conditions. Heart disease may involve the heart valves, arteries, and heart rate, leading to heart failure.
Heart failure is a serious health condition in which the heart isn’t pumping the way it should be. The body depends on the heart’s pumping action to deliver oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to all of its cells.
With heart failure, the heart cannot supply the body’s cells with enough blood, leading to symptoms that can have a tremendous impact on your quality of life.
Heart failure has a number of causes, including genetics, other medical conditions (e.g., anemia, diabetes, sleep apnea), and lifestyle (e.g., smoking, obesity).
Symptoms of heart failure vary, depending on the type and severity of heart failure you have. Common symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Increased heart rate
- Bluish-colored fingers and/or lips
- Persistent coughing or wheezing
- Lack of appetite
- Trouble concentrating
- Inability to sleep when lying flat
CBD and Heart Health
CBD has anti-inflammatory, antioxidative properties that may help reduce risk factors that can lead to heart disease. It may also be helpful in reducing the risk of related conditions, such as stroke.
Research suggests that even a single dose of CBD can lower blood pressure. High blood pressure has been linked to congestive heart failure. This is because high blood pressure makes it more difficult for blood to travel easily throughout the body, causing the heart to work harder.
While more research is needed to be sure, CBD may be helpful in lowering blood pressure to prevent congestive heart failure.
CBD oil has anti-inflammatory properties, which may help reduce cholesterol levels to improve heart health. Cholesterol is a type of lipid (fat) found in the blood.
High cholesterol levels—particularly low-density lipoprotein (LDL), aka “bad” cholesterol—increase the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. LDL can build up in the lining of blood vessels, causing a blockage that can lead to heart attack or stroke.
CBD has properties that help relax arterial walls, which research suggests may help reduce blood pressure and excess cholesterol. In animal studies, CBD has been shown to increase HDL levels—aka “good” cholesterol—and lower LDL levels after four weeks of CBD supplementation.
CBD is perhaps best known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Research suggests that inflammation may be at the root of many chronic illnesses. Heart disease is associated with inflammation. Inflamed blood vessels make it harder for the heart to pump blood throughout the body.
One study found that CBD has a direct effect on the arteries, helping reduce inflammation and improving blood flow. This suggests that CBD reduces inflammation in arteries and blood vessels, easing the strain on the heart, potentially preventing heart failure.
Obesity is one of the leading causes of congestive heart failure, which is one reason why it is important to maintain a healthy weight for optimal heart health. There is some evidence to suggest that CBD may help maintain a healthy weight.
One study found that CBD promotes the browning of white fat cells, which aids in converting the fat into burnable calories. This is beneficial because brown fat cells contain more mitochondria than white fat cells, which helps burn calories. White fat cells contain droplets of fat that accumulate around the body and can lead to obesity.
Are There Any Side Effects?
CBD has few side effects, and the World Health Organization states that it is generally well tolerated and has a good safety profile. While relatively safe, there are a few things to consider before you try CBD.
If you are currently taking any other medications, speak with your doctor before trying CBD. Some research suggests that CBD may interfere with the way the liver processes certain medications.
This interference may prevent the liver from metabolizing other medications as it normally would, leading to higher concentrations of the medication in the body and increasing the risk of liver toxicity.
Best CBD for Heart Health
CBD comes in many different forms, including oils and tinctures, edibles, topicals, and vaporizers. Taking CBD oil sublingually (under the tongue) is an easy way to enjoy the benefits. Using sublingual oils tends to work faster and produce stronger results than other edible products, such as gummies.
Vaping CBD is a fast way of delivering CBD into your system, but it is not recommended for individuals with heart disease. Vaping is associated with lung damage, and research shows it causes an increased risk in developing cardiovascular disease.
There are a number of CBD types to choose from. Understanding these differences can help you choose which type is best for your needs. These types include:
- Isolate: CBD is the only cannabinoid contained in the product.
- Full-spectrum: Contains multiple naturally occurring cannabis plant extracts, including terpenes, other cannabinoids, and up to 0.3% THC.
- Broad: Contains CBD and other components/cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, but does not contain any THC.
The availability of these products varies from state to state, particularly for products that contain THC.
If you’re just starting off with CBD, try a small dose first. Watch for any side effects. If you wish, you can slowly increase your dosage (no more than 5 to 10 mg increase at a time) until you find the dosage that is right for you.
How to Buy CBD
With so many CBD options available, shopping for the right product can be an overwhelming experience. Some important things to keep in mind when buying CBD include:
- Cannabis source: CBD is derived from cannabis plants, and it’s important the CBD is sourced from a company that takes care in the quality and cultivation of their plants. Look for products that come from organic plants when possible.
- Certificate of Analysis (CoA): Responsible, reputable manufacturers offer a CoA that clearly states the amounts of cannabinoids in a product. CoAs are conducted by an independent, accredited lab.
- Read the label: Read the full list of ingredients contained in CBD to know what you are consuming.
- Type of CBD: To get the best results, look for full-spectrum or broad CBD products. These may offer an “entourage effect,” combining the effects of multiple cannabis compounds that work in synergy to offer the most benefits.
CBD oil is extracted from the cannabis plant. It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties. Researchers are looking into ways it could be beneficial for heart health. While it has few side effects, it may slow liver metabolism and affect other medications you are taking.
Cannabidiol comes in several forms and methods of application. People with heart disease should avoid products that require vaping or smoking.
A Word From Verywell
While CBD is not a cure for heart failure, it may prevent further damage thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. CBD may be helpful in reducing blood pressure, decreasing inflammation and cholesterol, and maintaining a healthy weight. Improving these factors may reduce the risk of heart failure.
Speak with your doctor before trying CBD, particularly if you are on any other medications or dietary supplements. Your doctor can let you know if it is safe to take, and may have product and/or dosage recommendations.
Frequently Asked Questions
How safe is CBD for congestive heart failure?
CBD is generally considered to be safe for congestive heart failure. Research shows no significant adverse effects of CBD at a wide range of doses (anywhere from 3 to 1,200 mg/day).
CBD has significant potential to treat a variety of heart diseases and comes with few adverse side effects, though more research is needed. Talk with your doctor before using CBD for heart disease, particularly if you are currently taking any other medications.
Does CBD lead to heart problems?
CBD alone does not lead to heart problems. However, CBD is broken down and metabolized by the liver. During this process, it may interfere with your medications for any heart conditions you have. This may lead to liver problems or interfere with the effectiveness of any medications you are taking.
Exercise caution and speak with your doctor before using CBD for heart failure.
Can CBD cause heart palpitations?
The cardiovascular effects of CBD are currently being studied. Some research suggests that cannabis use may cause arrhythmia (irregular heart rate) or tachycardia (increase in heart rate).
However, those studies included products that also contain THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis plants. More research is needed to determine if CBD causes heart palpitations.