Can CBD Oil Help Raynaud’s Disease? [Explained]
In the past few years, people have become more aware of the potential of CBD (cannabidiol). Many people use CBD to relieve disease-related conditions such as pain and stress from anxiety. However, others are becoming curious regarding its ability to help with other problems related to disorders, such as Raynaud’s disease.
In this article, we’ll cover how CBD oil could help with Raynaud’s disease symptoms and how people use it for maximum effect.
What Is Raynaud’s Disease?
Raynaud’s disease, also known as Raynaud’s phenomenon or Raynaud’s syndrome, is a common circulatory disorder. The National Institutes of Health states that it affects as many as 3–5% of adults worldwide.
People with Raynaud’s disease experience tightening of the blood vessels, known as vasospasm. This happens in response to cold temperatures, anxiety, or stress.
Although these episodes are short-lived, they can be extremely uncomfortable for the sufferer. They could also be a sign of a more serious underlying disease.
Raynaud’s Disease Symptoms
Raynaud’s most common symptoms are fingers or toes that change color in response to cold or stress. First, they turn white and then blue in extreme cases. This color change is a result of the blood vessels narrowing and restricting blood flow to the extremities.
As the blood vessels relax and the circulation returns to normal, the fingers or toes may turn red. Pain, throbbing, or tingling often accompany this Raynaud’s symptom.
Although Raynaud’s disease most often affects the fingers and toes, it can also impact the nose, ears, lips, nipples, and knees. Other symptoms of Raynaud’s include:
In severe cases, an episode of Raynaud’s phenomenon could lead to skin sores and even tissue death. For this reason, proper management of the condition is critical.
What Causes Raynaud’s Disease?
There are two different types of Raynaud’s disease; primary and secondary. Primary Raynaud’s occurs on its own, and experts are still unsure exactly why it occurs.
Secondary Raynaud’s is a symptom of another disorder. Some of the conditions that have an association with Raynaud’s disease include:
- Sjogren’s syndrome
- Blood vessel disorders
Certain medications can also cause Raynaud’s disease, and smoking aggravates the problem. It is more likely to affect women, and there appears to be a genetic factor. People living in cold climates or frequently using vibrating machinery also have an increased risk of developing Raynaud’s.
Raynaud’s Disease Treatment
The most common Raynaud’s disease treatments are medications that dilate (widen) the blood vessels. These include drugs like nifedipine and sildenafil. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary. However, surgery carries many risks and is usually a last resort when other treatments have failed.
In addition to these Raynaud’s treatments, patients can manage their symptoms in the following ways:
- Keeping warm, especially the hands and feet
- Soaking hands or feet in warm water at the first signs of an episode
- Exercising regularly to improve circulation
- Using stress management techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, or yoga
- Eating a healthy diet
- Reducing caffeine intake
- Stopping smoking
Now that CBD is becoming popular, many people wonder whether it could also help with Raynaud’s disease.
Can CBD Oil Help Raynaud’s Disease?
There is little existing research on CBD oil and Raynaud’s disease. However, there is some evidence that it could help to relax the blood vessels and improve circulation.
In 2017, Khalid A. Jadoon and colleagues published a study in the journal JCI Insight. It was a double-blind, randomized crossover trial, aiming to determine CBD’s effects on blood pressure. It involved ten healthy male volunteers who were between 19 and 29 years old.
The researchers gave the participants either a single, 600mg dose of CBD or a placebo. Two hours later, the subjects undertook a series of stressful activities. The research team measured the effects of mental stress, exercise-induced stress, and cold-induced stress on the subjects’ blood pressure.
The results indicated that CBD reduced both resting blood pressure and the blood pressure response to stress. The effects were most evident in the cold-induced stress test, which may be of particular interest to Raynaud’s patients.
The authors of the study suggested that CBD could aid in reducing the vasoconstriction that cold and stress both induce.
How Does CBD Work for Raynaud’s?
CBD is one of the numerous active compounds in cannabis. It belongs to a class of chemicals known as cannabinoids, a group that includes the intoxicating THC and many others. However, unlike THC, CBD does not cause intoxication. Instead, it has a range of beneficial effects on the body.
It exerts these effects by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system is present in the majority of our cells and plays a role in maintaining homeostasis. The definition of homeostasis is a state of internal balance, despite a constantly changing external environment. Maintaining homeostasis includes regulating blood pressure.
If the blood pressure becomes too low, the blood vessels constrict (narrow) and increase it. Similarly, if it becomes too high, they dilate (widen) and decrease it. One of the chemicals responsible for this reaction is called anandamide. It reduces blood pressure by binding to receptors in the blood vessels and causing them to relax.
Anandamide belongs to a class of chemicals called endocannabinoids. Scientists named these compounds endocannabinoids as they have a molecular structure much like the cannabinoids in cannabis.
This similar structure is the reason that cannabinoids have such a profound impact on the human body. They can bind with receptors in the ECS, just like anandamide can. However, it seems that CBD may affect the blood vessels in other ways too.
Research into the cardiovascular effects of CBD suggests that it has several possible mechanisms of action. These include reacting with several receptors outside of the ECS and releasing nitric oxide, a chemical that relaxes the blood vessels.
More research is undoubtedly needed to confirm whether CBD could help with Raynaud’s disease symptoms. However, its ability to reduce cold-induced stress and relax the blood vessels suggests it could offer some hope.
How to Use CBD for Raynaud’s Phenomenon
Most people consider CBD to be safe, with minimal risk of side effects. However, to derive the maximum benefit, it is essential to choose the right delivery method.
Some people opt to smoke their CBD, and in states where medical marijuana is legal, there are several high-CBD strains available. These include ACDC, Cannatonic, Harlequin, and many more.
However, smoking can aggravate Raynaud’s phenomenon and is not the best option for people with this condition. It may be much safer to use CBD oil, edibles, vapes, or topical CBD products instead.
Furthermore, each of these methods has its advantages and disadvantages to consider.
CBD oil is one of the best-loved ways of taking CBD. It allows anyone to adjust the amount they consume and ensures a high absorption rate. However, using an oil can be inconvenient as an individual must drop it under the tongue and hold it there for up to 90 seconds before swallowing. Moreover, many people dislike the taste of CBD and much prefer other methods.
Edibles are one such method. They taste much better than CBD oil and are far more convenient to use. However, they must pass through the digestive system, which means much of their potency gets lost along the way. They can also take a while to start working, making them less helpful in acute situations.
CBD vaping is another option for getting CBD. It is one of the quickest and most effective ways to use CBD. However, vaping is not for everyone, and the long-term effects on lung health are still unclear.
Finally, topicals are an excellent option for localized problems. They allow users to apply CBD directly to the skin, meaning that it quickly gets to where they may need it most. However, if people use topicals, they will not gain any of the systemic benefits of CBD.
Everyone’s body is unique, and what works for one may offer zero benefits to another. The best way to find the most suitable CBD product is for users to try a few and see what they prefer.
Whatever they opt for, they should be sure to choose a reputable brand that provides third-party lab reports. This way, the company can ensure the purchased CBD contains everything it should and no hidden contaminants. Lab results show that a company is confident about its quality and has nothing to hide.
Can CBD Help Raynaud’s? Final Thoughts
Although there is limited clinical evidence supporting the use of CBD for Raynaud’s disease, some people may find it beneficial. It could help to reduce stress and anxiety while relaxing the blood vessels to improve circulation.
Users should always consult a physician before using CBD oil for Raynaud’s or any other medical condition. Additionally, they should choose a reputable brand and follow the instructions carefully. Doing this will ensure a person can derive the most benefit from CBD while reducing the risk of side effects.
Users that have taken CBD for Raynaud’s disease can write down any experiences or other significant impacts in the comment section below.
Can Marijuana Help With Raynaud’s Disease?
Raynaud’s disease, also called Raynaud Syndrome and Raynaud’s Phenomenon, is a medical condition where a spasm of the arteries causes episodes of reduced blood flow. The smaller arteries that supply blood to the skin narrow, limiting circulation to affected areas (called vasospasm).
The result is cold fingers or toes, pins and needles, color changes in the skin, pain, migraines, numbness, and prickly pain when the hands or feet are warmed. Skin sores and, in rare instances, developing gangrene is possible.
What Is Raynaud’s Disease?
Raynaud syndrome affects around 4% of the population, and, in many instances, the symptoms are mild enough that most people find it to be a minor inconvenience. However, not all cases of Raynaud’s are mild, and in many cases, can be related to rather serious autoimmune disorders and connective tissue diseases.
There are several triggers of Raynaud’s disease:
- Cold weather
- Handling cold objects
Primary Raynaud’s Disease
Primary Raynaud’s describes the idiopathic version of the disease in which the symptoms of Raynaud’s occur on their own and are not the result of another underlying condition. The primary form of the disease primarily affects women and develops in teens or young adulthood.
Primary Raynaud’s is thought to be partly hereditary, although the precise cause is not fully known yet. Caffeine, nicotine, estrogen, non-selective beta-blockers, and birth control pills can all be aggravating factors as well.
Secondary Raynaud’s Disease
Secondary Raynaud’s is also known as Raynaud’s phenomenon and, unlike primary Raynaud’s, occurs due to an underlying health problem. Secondary Raynaud’s can cause complications with other conditions and potentially be more dangerous, and Raynaud’s phenomenon can be one of the first presenting symptoms of another condition. Causes of secondary Raynaud’s include:
- Connective tissue & autoimmune diseases – Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, dermatomyositis, polymyositis, cold agglutinin disease, mixed connective tissue disease, and Sjogren’s syndrome are all associated with secondary Raynaud’s. Most people with scleroderma, which causes skin hardening, develop Raynaud’s. Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa can also cause Raynaud’s.
- Diseases of the arteries, such as atherosclerosis, Buerger’s disease, and primary pulmonary hypertension, can all cause Raynaud’s.
- Repetitive actions and vibrations which result in overuse injuries can cause Raynaud’s. is linked to secondary Raynaud’s.
- Hypothyroidism could lead to Raynaud’s phenomenon.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome is associated with Raynaud’s.
- Injuries such as fractures or frostbite may precede Raynaud’s.
The above is a partial list of the conditions that can cause secondary Raynaud’s syndrome. Other conditions may also lead to the development of secondary Raynaud’s.
Physicians currently use the following treatment methods for Raynaud Syndrome.
Avoiding extreme cold temperatures and refraining from handling cold objects (like ice cubes) are two preventative measures against Raynaud’s Disease.
Calcium Channel Blockers/Agonists
Some people with Raynaud’s are prescribed calcium channel blockers/agonists (e.g., NIFEdipine). Calcium blockers seem to be more effective for secondary Raynaud’s than for primary Raynaud’s .
In some cases, prostacyclins (vasodilators used for hypertension) such as iloprost or epoprostenol are used.
Viagra is sometimes used as a vasodilator (meaning that it promotes the dilation of blood vessels).
Using Cannabis to Treat Raynaud’s Disease
There are few studies into the use of cannabis for Raynaud’s disease. Still, there are anecdotal reports and an underlying logic as to why cannabis and cannabinoids can be used to treat Raynaud’s disease (in particular secondary Raynaud’s).
Here are three primary benefits of using cannabis for Raynaud’s Disease:
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) acts as a vasodilator , helping open up the arteries. The terpene pinene is also potentially helpful for its vasodilatory effects.
- Raynaud’s is often associated with other autoimmune conditions. It seems that cannabidiol (CBD) can help regulate the immune system and control the inflammation associated with various autoimmune diseases.
- Both THC and CBD in small amounts can help relieve stress and anxiety – two common triggers of Raynaud’s.
Further benefits of using cannabis for Raynaud’s are similar to using medical marijuana to treat other conditions. Unlike many prescription drugs, marijuana comes with few and generally mild side effects, and cannabis is also not addictive in the same way that many prescription drugs are.
Cannabis medicine may treat a range of conditions beyond Raynaud Syndrome, including depression . Medical marijuana, when properly dosed and administered, can improve your overall health .
Potential Drawbacks and Risks
Little is known about the interactions between cannabinoids and NIFEdipine, and prostacyclins. However, although we do not know if there is an interaction, we do know that cannabinoids do interfere with some types of beta-blockers. CBD also affects calcium channels, so while there has been no contraindication yet discovered between cannabis and calcium channel blockers, there could possibly be some.
There is also a rare case of cannabis arteritis , where a heavy cannabis smoker with progressive Raynaud’s phenomenon had arteriography revealing corkscrew-shaped vessels. Whether cannabinoids themselves caused this is unknown because there is only one reported case, but it is known that smoke of any kind may potentially trigger a Raynaud’s episode. Vaporizing ( to allow THC and pinene into the lungs and the bloodstream quickly) and tinctures (for longer-term relief from any pain and stress) may therefore be a better choice for the treatment of Raynaud’s.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is marijuana a vasodilator?
Some studies have shown that the cannabinoids found in cannabis may act as vasodilators . Vasodilation is a natural process but can be harmful in certain individuals, especially people with hypotension or severe allergies. Consult your doctor before using cannabis for Raynaud Syndrome or any other medical condition.
Does marijuana affect blood flow?
Research has demonstrated that smoking marijuana affects blood flow in the brain . Changes in cerebral blood flow can be problematic, especially for people who frequently and heavily smoke cannabis.
Do cannabis topicals help Raynaud’s Disease?
Cannabis topicals may help stimulate fresh blood flow in people with Raynaud’s Disease. Warming CBD topicals, especially heated CBD oils, could provide extra benefits, but more clinical research is needed.
Should you use cannabis to treat Raynaud syndrome? A physician can help you determine if cannabis is an appropriate course of treatment for Raynaud’s and any other condition. Contact the experienced doctors at Leafwell today to apply for your medical marijuana card .
Article written by
Tina Magrabi Senior Content Writer
Tina Magrabi is a writer and editor specializing in holistic health. She has written hundreds of articles for Weedmaps where she spearheaded the Ailments series on cannabis medicine. In addition, she has written extensively for the women’s health blog, SafeBirthProject, as well as print publications including Destinations Magazine and Vero’s Voice. Tina is a Yale University alumna and certified yoga instructor with a passion for the outdoors.
Keep updated with our social media
Phone: +1 (800) 660-9085
©2022 Leafwell. Note: Information on this site does not constitute medical advice or legal advice.