CBD for Cardiovascular Disease

By Dr. Frank Michalski DC

Before we discuss how CBD may support a healthy cardiovascular system let’s begin with gaining an understating of cardiovascular disease.

Understanding Cardiovascular Disease

At the root of most cardiovascular disease is low level chronic inflammatory disease. Chronic inflammation leads to a buildup of tiny toxic compounds called free radicals. Free radicals are responsible for a portion of arterial damage.

How are free radicals produced? Free radical accumulation depends heavily on lifestyle, nutrition, genetics, and supplementation. Let’s briefly review how food leads to free radical build up. Every time you eat food, the food will eventually turn into glucose/ sugar in your body. When sugar combines with healthy proteins and fats, the sugar oxidizes the proteins and fats, which leads to free radical production. Free radicals will oxidize the lipids in your blood such as LDL. When LDL is damaged it begins sticking to the arterial walls. This causes arteriosclerosis. 

Every time you eat foods with a higher glycemic index rating or inflammatory foods you are risking increased free radical production. The glycemic index rates how quickly food will convert to sugar/ glucose. Food with a rating of 40 and above on the glycemic index will convert to sugar at a rapid rate. These are rapidly digesting carbohydrates. This leaves you with tiny sugar and free radical particles floating around in your blood. The excess sugars/glucose are turned into triglycerides or fat. Triglycerides in excess of 100 MG/DL (seen on blood work) will increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Recall though, these triglyceride fats came from carbohydrates and sugars. The excess sugars will also begin to deposit on the walls of your arteries. Fried foods and low-quality fat sources such as omega 9’s, too much omega 6, vegetable oil, canola oil, and safflower oil, all oxidize very quickly when cooked. Unhealthy sources of fat are just as damaging to your arteries as sugar. Smoking, and lack of exercise also leads to free radical accumulation.    

Once the sugars and free radicals damage your arterial walls, your body tries to fix the artery by laying down cholesterol. Eventually too much plaque/ cholesterol accumulates inside the artery walls narrowing the amount of space for blood flow. Plaques can also dislodge resulting in strokes and further interrupted blood flow. This is the mechanism for a heart attack or stroke!! Blood flow to the heart is decreased, the heart no longer is receiving blood or oxygen, resulting in a heart attack. You could also imagine how this decreased arterial space results in high blood pressure. Your heart has to pump twice as hard to move the blood through the restricted vessel.

Just how many people are suffering from Heart Disease according to the CDC?

  • 610,000 people die a year of heart disease in the US. That is 1 out of 4 people will die due to heart disease.1
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. That’s correct women too!1
  • Coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease killing 370,000 people annually.1
  • Every year 735,000 Americans have a heart attack. Of these 525,000 are a first heart attack and 210,000 already had a heart attack.1

Primary risk factors for heart disease:1 


  • Diabetes
  • Obesity 
  • Poor Diet 
  • Physical inactivity 
  • Excessive alcohol use 
  • Smoking 
  • Excessive physical or mental stress
  • Lack of sleep 

      Many of us may notice we have one or more of the above risk factors. This is what makes heart disease so common!  


      Are you at risk? These are the tests you should receive during your next blood work:

      • Cholesterol 
      • HDL 
      • LDL 
      • VLDL 
      • Triglycerides 
      • Homocysteine 
      • HS-CRP (measures inflammation that could be present in your arteries) 
      • Glucose 
      • HBA1C 
      • Insulin 

      Did you know many of the above values are not regularly screened? Try to work with your physician to obtain the above blood values, especially if you are at risk of cardiac disease. We always like to see a healthy HDL, low triglycerides, low CRP, and well controlled markers for sugar/ glucose levels. Heart disease is a silent killer, know where you stand.

      How may CBD support a healthy heart?2 (Mostly animal/rat models)

      CBD protects against vascular damage caused by a high glucose environment, inflammation or the induction of type 2 diabetes in animal models.2 Sugars damage blood vessels. CBD seems to reduce that damage.
      • In the heart in vivo (in a living organism) CBD treatment protects against ischaemia-reprofusion damage and against cardiomyopathy associated with diabetes.2 
      • CBD has been shown to reduce infarct size and increase blood flow in animal models of stroke.2
      • CBD reduces the cardiovascular response to models of stress in animals and humans.2,4 CBD seems to help lower high blood pressure due to stressful events. 
      • In blood, CBD influences the survival and death of white blood cells, white blood cell migration, and platelet aggregation.2
      • CBD induces a substantial in vivo cardioprotective effect from ischemia (lack of oxygen) in animal models. CBD may represent a promising novel treatment for myocardial ischemia.
      • Acute administration of CBD reduces resting blood pressure and the blood pressure increase to stress in humans, associated with increased heart rate.4 
      • CBD may be a novel treatment in the management of autoimmune myocarditis (inflammation of the heart due to an autoimmune disease).5
      The best description of CBD and its potential role in supporting a healthy cardiovascular system can be found in the government patent on CBD. The patent states that CBD is a potent antioxidant, that may be beneficial for those suffering ischemic events. Antioxidants are part of the “firemen” that put out the free radicals. 

      CBD Servings for Cardiovascular Health

      Start slowly with the serving size. Begin with 10-100mg’s a day and increase as necessary. If you have high blood pressure or blood sugar monitor closely with each serving size.

      Recall CBD impacts several areas and body systems. This is because our bodies have cannabinoid receptors all over. If you are less stressed, sleeping better, losing weight, and controlling blood sugars (all things CBD may help with) you are indirectly supporting your cardiovascular system. 

      The effects of CBD on cardiovascular health are not fully understood and we look forward to future research. If you begin taking CBD for cardiac support now is the time to change your lifestyle! Begin an ant-inflammatory diet, adopt an active lifestyle, and drop any bad habits. 

      House Keeping: 

      • As always consult with your physician before beginning any supplement or nutrition regimen.
      • CBD is not meant to treat or cure any disease. 
      • If you are on any medications that require regular testing with blood work, consult with a physician. CBD may increase or decrease the amount of medication present in your blood. 
      • If you have been told not to consume grapefruit consult with a physician. 
      • Monitor your symptoms closely, sleep, mood, pain levels etc. 


      1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Multiple Cause of Death 1999-2015 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released December 2016. Data are from the Multiple Cause of Death Files, 1999-2015, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program. Accessed at http://wonder.cdc.gov/mcd-icd10.html
      2. Stanley CP, Hind WH, O'Sullivan SE. Is the cardiovascular system a therapeutic target for cannabidiol?. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2012;75(2):313–322. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2125.2012.04351.x
      3. Cannabidiol, a nonpsychoactive Cannabis constituent, protects against myocardial ischemic reperfusion injury

      Ronen Durst, Haim Danenberg, Ruth Gallily, Raphael Mechoulam, Keren Meir, Etty Grad, Ronen Beeri, Thea Pugatsch, Elizabet Tarsish, and Chaim Lotan

      American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology 2007 293:6H3602-H3607 

      1. Jadoon KA, Tan GD, O'Sullivan SE. A single dose of cannabidiol reduces blood pressure in healthy volunteers in a randomized crossover study. JCI Insight. 2017;2(12):e93760. Published 2017 Jun 15. doi:10.1172/jci.insight.93760
      2. Lee WS, Erdelyi K, Matyas C, et al. Cannabidiol Limits T Cell-Mediated Chronic Autoimmune Myocarditis: Implications to Autoimmune Disorders and Organ Transplantation. Mol Med. 2016;22:136–146. doi:10.2119/molmed.2016.00007