Does CBD Oil Cause High Cholesterol

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How to Use CBD Oil for High Cholesterol Elevated cholesterol is something many people will have to contend with during the course of their life. So what is cholesterol and why is it so bad? CBD produces many effects that may benefit people with high cholesterol levels. Read on to know more about the effects of CBD on cholesterol. CBD may be used to manage cholesterol levels. It has suggested health benefits, like regulating heart health and preventing stroke. Learn more.

How to Use CBD Oil for High Cholesterol

Elevated cholesterol is something many people will have to contend with during the course of their life.

So what is cholesterol and why is it so bad?

Cholesterol is a waxy type of substance that is either manufactured by your liver or derived from the food you eat. Not all cholesterol is bad. In fact, cholesterol is essential for survival as it is an important component of cell walls and plays a part in the absorption of certain vitamins. The problem comes in when you have too much cholesterol, especially the ‘bad’ LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol.

LDL cholesterol forms a kind of sticky sludge in your arteries that clings to the inside walls of the blood vessels. Just like food residue can clog up your drains and cause a blockage, so too can layers of waxy cholesterol in your arteries. As the cholesterol hardens, a segment of that hardened fat can break off and travel through your bloodstream to lodge in your brain, causing a stroke.

Managing High Cholesterol With CBD Oil

Most people don’t even know they have high cholesterol until told by a doctor that they are at risk. Once that happens, it’s vital to take steps immediately.

CBD has been tried for a wide variety of both common and uncommon conditions. You may be wondering whether CBD might improve your cholesterol profile and how or if it lowers high cholesterol. Read on to find out with our medically reviewed answers…

Benefits of Using CBD Oil for High Cholesterol

CBD has a great deal of therapeutic potential. An extract of the hemp plant, CBD has the ability to activate our body’s endocannabinoid receptors. These receptors are located in the brain, digestive system, muscles, and reproductive system of the body. This means that the effects of CBD are widespread across the body. The benefits that CBD can offer for a specific condition may also simply be supportive, improving the body’s overall health thereby improving the patient’s condition.

Here’s how CBD may benefit you if you suffer from high cholesterol:

Reduces Blood Pressure with Vascular Relaxation

One of the most useful effects of CBD oil in people with raised cholesterol is deep-tissue relaxation. CBD reduces stress, meaning that tight and tense parts of your body release. This release goes all the way down to your vascular system. Believe it or not, CBD helps your arterial walls to relax, reducing hardness and allowing the passages to broaden. Wider arterial passages mean less likelihood of a blockage. CBD has also been shown to reduce inflammation; decreased inflammation means less hardening of cholesterol plaques.

Another benefit of vascular relaxation is improved blood flow and lowered blood pressure. Elevated blood pressure is an added risk factor for people with high cholesterol because it also causes arterial wall damage and hardening, so lowering your blood pressure is good news.

Relieves Stress

When you have high cholesterol, it can help to cut excess stress from your life. This is because stress often leads to raised blood pressure and, as you learnt above, raised blood pressure and raised cholesterol together is like a double whammy to your system. Your doctor may tell you to take it easy, but the reality is that most of us are constantly stressing about something. CBD may help you let go of today’s worries and relax. With the right dosage, you may find it easier not to get worked up or upset when you face setbacks. If your doctor has prescribed some stress relief, CBD might be just what you’re looking for.

Reduces Unhealthy Appetite

CBD doesn’t increase your appetite. In fact, it may do the opposite. CBD alleviates internal pain and helps your stomach to relax so you can digest more comfortably. Because CBD improves your relationship with your stomach, you may find yourself eating less as you learn to understand your appetite more accurately.

Reduces Pain of Exercise

Getting healthy usually means getting fit, but exercise can hurt, especially for those not accustomed to the process. CBD has been called a miracle worker when it comes to removing muscle pain for athletic pursuits. From long walks to intensive weight lifting, CBD may help ease the pain in-the-moment and help prevent soreness in the future, allowing you to work on your cardio for that cardiac muscle.

The Effectiveness of CBD Oil for High Cholesterol

Now let’s talk about the direct effectiveness of using CBD for cholesterol. It’s important to remember here that because CBD is a natural compound, it can affect each person differently.

Who Should Use CBD Oil

Should you try CBD oil? CBD oil is safe and beneficial for most people, but there are some who should avoid CBD for medical reasons. This usually relates to pre-existing illnesses and medical conditions. If you are an otherwise healthy person with high cholesterol, CBD is a great treatment option to try. If you are in any doubt about the safety of CBD, discuss it with your family doctor before trying it out..

How CBD Interacts with Cholesterol Medication

CBD is known to interact with only a few medications, mostly involving how enzymes are broken up in the body.

Certain cholesterol medications in the statin class are metabolised via the cytochrome P-450 pathway in the liver. CBD can act as an inhibitor of this pathway, so if you are on a statin, it’s important to discuss going onto CBD with your healthcare provider. There are two statins which do not depend on the cytochrome P-450 pathway for metabolism, so if you do want to try out the benefits of CBD, your healthcare provider may suggest that you change to one of these medications.

Side Effects of CBD

Common side effects of CBD include low blood pressure (good for you, in the case of high cholesterol), lightheadedness, dry mouth, and drowsiness. These side effects are not specific to the use of CBD in the management of high cholesterol. It’s important to note that CBD does not give you the “munchies” (because it doesn’t contain THC) so your meal plan is safe!

Hemp Seed Oil vs CBD Oil for Cholesterol

For the sake of clarification, hemp seed oil and CBD oil are not the same thing, despite them both being beneficial in the management of high cholesterol. CBD is good for your cholesterol because it relaxes the arterial walls and reduces stress and pain. Hemp seed oil, pressed from seeds, does not have pain relief or relaxing qualities, but it is full of Omega 3 and 6 fats that will help clear any clogged arteries.

How to Use CBD Oil for High Cholesterol

Finally, let’s touch briefly on what CBD oil products to try and how to use CBD carefully as part of your cholesterol treatment plan. We advise that you keep track of your blood pressure daily with a simple home blood pressure monitor to discover if your CBD use is having any clear beneficial effect. It may also be worth taking a cholesterol level reading (lipogram) prior to starting CBD and then again after three months of sustained CBD use to see if your cholesterol levels are dropping.

Dosage of CBD for Cholesterol

Always approach dosage carefully. The key is to start low and slow. Give your initial starting dose adequate time to have an effect before methodically increasing your dosage and rate of administration over time until satisfactory results emerge.

The CBD Oil Review Serving Standard is 25mg of CBD taken twice daily. If this does not produce the results you are after, increase your dose by 25mg every 3-4 weeks until you find the relief you are looking for. For more information on CBD oil dosing, read our guide here.

Ways to Take CBD Oil for Cholesterol

CBD Tinctures- CBD tinctures are oil drops placed under the tongue. In this delivery method, CBD oil is absorbed through your mucous membranes and takes effect quickly.

CBD Capsules- CBD capsules consist of a pocket of CBD oil wrapped in a gel cover. They are very much like gel-type vitamins and are ingested, taking somewhat longer to kick in as they move through the digestive system.

CBD Edibles- CBD edibles are made when CBD oil is mixed or cooked into food, like gummies or chocolate (sugar-free of course!). You can buy pre-made edibles or buy kitchen-ready CBD oil to make your own. Onset of action is longer as they need to pass through your digestive system before being absorbed into the bloodstream.

CBD Topicals- Topicals are creams, balms, and roll-on ointments made with CBD. This method is more useful for topical conditions, but is still a valid way to get CBD into your system.

Final Takeaway

High cholesterol is a lifelong battle for some people, but you don’t have to fight it alone. With the help of CBD and the support of your doctor, you can start to knock down that stress and relax your arteries for long-term cardiovascular health.

CBD For High Cholesterol: Can Hemp Oil Lower Your Cholesterol Levels?

High cholesterol levels (also called hypercholesterolemia) increase your risk of developing chronic medical diseases. Fatty deposits accumulate in your blood vessels, causing problems such as hypertension, diabetes, and atherosclerosis, etc. If left untreated, these may result in stroke and heart attack.

Studies suggest that CBD may help control high cholesterol levels. It also has properties that reduce health risks associated with this medical problem.

This article talks about CBD and cholesterol, how CBD affects hypercholesterolemia, and how to use CBD for this health concern.

What is Cholesterol?

The liver naturally produces cholesterol, and we can also get these fat-like compounds from the foods we eat like dairy products and meat.

We need cholesterol to function properly. Our cells use them to make other substances like vitamins and hormones. Cholesterol also helps maintain the integrity of the cell’s membrane.

For a healthy cholesterol level though, there should be a good balance between the good cholesterol or high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and the bad cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein (LDL).

The good cholesterol removes excess cholesterol from the body, while the bad cholesterol transports excess cholesterol to other parts of the body.

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Unfortunately, factors like lifestyle choices, health problems, medications, or even stress can easily disrupt their balance, resulting in an increased bad cholesterol level. The bad cholesterol accumulates inside the blood vessels and causes them to harden and become narrower.

What are the Effects of High Bad Cholesterol Levels?

Hypercholesterolemia is a condition where there’s an unhealthy level of serum total cholesterol (more than 200 mg/dl). The causes may either be genetics or acquired (eating high-cholesterol food and a sedentary lifestyle, for example). High cholesterol levels may also be worsened by medications and chronic medical illnesses like chronic kidney disease and diabetic diseases.

Symptoms of hypercholesterolemia include chest pain, shortness of breath, feeling tired all the time, etc., but the diagnosis will only be confirmed by doing a blood test.

If left untreated, your high cholesterol levels can not only worsen your medical problems but cause them as well. People with hypercholesterolemia have a higher risk of developing stroke, heart attack, diabetes, and other chronic diseases

How Is Hypercholesterolemia Treated?

A conservative approach may help reduce cholesterol levels. These include:

  • Better diet choices (less fat, salt, and sugar content and more fruits and leafy vegetables)
  • Smoking cessation
  • Going on a regular exercise program (at least 30 minutes per day for five days)
  • Losing weight if you’re overweight
  • Getting a good, restful sleep
  • Managing your stress

If these can’t control your high cholesterol levels, then your doctor may prescribe the following medications:

  • Cholesterol absorption inhibitors like ezetimibe
  • Statins like lovastatin and simvastatin
  • Bile acid sequestrants like colestipol
  • Fibrates like Lopid
  • Bempedoic acid
  • Antihypertensive and antidiabetic drugs may also be prescribed if you’re diagnosed with hypertension and diabetes.

While these medications help reduce high cholesterol levels, they also produce side effects like:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Muscle pain or soreness
  • Dizziness
  • Problems with short-term memory

Long-term side effects of these drugs may also increase your risk of developing diabetes mellitus type 2 and liver damage.

Recent years have seen tremendous growth in the CBD market. We use CBD not only to maintain a healthy body and mind but to control symptoms as well. CBD also produces beneficial effects that may help lower cholesterol levels and improve its associated health risks.

Before we discuss the effects of CBD on hypercholesterolemia, let’s first go over the role of the endocannabinoid system in controlling cholesterol.

The Role of the Endocannabinoid System in the Management of Cholesterol Levels

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a biological system that plays an important protective role in our body. It helps maintain balance by regulating many physiological functions such as pain, inflammation, memory, fear, sleep, pleasure, mood, emotions, appetite, hunger, and even metabolism, etc.

The ECS is made up of three components:

  • The endogenous cannabinoids that activate the cannabinoid receptors
  • The cannabinoid receptors type 1 and 2 (CB1R and CB2R)
  • The enzymes that break down the endogenous cannabinoids

The CB1R is abundant in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) as well as in the peripheral tissues. The CB2R, on the other hand, is mostly located on the immune cells.

Under normal healthy conditions, the ECS helps modulate our physiological functions and responses to stimuli, resulting in symptom control. Its activation also results in reduced inflammation.

However, chronic medical problems like high cholesterol levels, hypertension, and diabetes damage the ECS, resulting in its dysregulation . Instead of maintaining balance, ECS dysregulation contributes to the worsening of health problems, including high cholesterol levels.

In hypercholesterolemia, cholesterol buildup damages the blood vessel walls. It also sets off an inflammatory response that attracts more immune cells to the site. The more immune cells that go to the damaged blood vessel, the narrower the blood vessel becomes as more debris accumulates. If a chunk breaks off, it could travel to other parts of the body as a blood clot and cause a stroke or congestive heart failure .

How Does CBD Benefit People with High Cholesterol Levels?

Cannabidiol or CBD is just one of over a hundred types of cannabinoids. A non-psychoactive compound, CBD doesn’t bind very well to the CB1R but can directly activate the CB2R. CBD can also stimulate other receptors that help reduce high cholesterol levels and associated risks.

Reduces Blood Sugar Levels

Insulin resistance links high blood sugar levels with high cholesterol levels. The cells become less sensitive and responsive to insulin (the hormone that carries glucose into the cell for energy conversion), resulting in the accumulation of sugar in the blood and changes in cholesterol levels. The good cholesterol level decreases, allowing the bad cholesterol and triglycerides (fat) to build up and cause fatty deposits or plaques along the blood vessel wall. High cholesterol levels also contribute to the development of diabetes .

A study published in the Diabetes Care Journal notes that CBD decreases resistin levels. Resistin is a compound produced by fat cells and immune cells. It increases insulin resistance and cellular inflammation. This shows that CBD can help lower insulin resistance levels which gives its potential to relieve and lessen the symptoms of diabetes. CBD also increases gastric inhibitory polypeptide (GIP) levels. GIP is a compound that stimulates the pancreas to produce and secrete insulin .

Reduces Inflammation of the Blood Vessel Walls

Fatty plaques cause narrowing and hardening of the blood vessel walls, resulting in injury. The presence of these small injuries attracts immune cells to the site. As they flock to the site, they also get trapped by the fatty plaques. Instead of helping the blood vessel walls heal, the immune cells contribute more to the damage, further weakening the walls .

As the plaque grows, it increases the risk of blood clot formations. These can block the blood vessel or get dislodged and travel to other parts of the body, causing a heart attack or a stroke.

When CBD binds to the CB2R, it produces a powerful anti-inflammatory effect. CBD triggers the cell death of these abnormal immune cells, preventing them from sending signals that attract more immune cells to the site. Additionally, CBD also protects the blood vessels from the damages caused by high sugar levels, which make immune cells adhere more to the plaques .

Reduces High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure or hypertension occurs when the pressure of blood against the blood vessel wall becomes higher than normal (greater than 120/80 mmHg). Many factors cause hypertension, including high salt, sugar, and cholesterol levels. These get deposited along the walls of the blood vessels, causing them to harden and become narrower. Hard and narrow blood vessels make it difficult for blood to flow freely, increasing the blood pressure against the walls .

A study published in the Journal of Hypertension shows that CBD dilates the blood vessel walls. It effectively reduced high blood pressure in patients dealing with hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and overweight. The same study also found that CBD reduces hypertension caused by stress .

Reduces Stress

You may not know this but stress (especially chronic stress) affects your cholesterol level. Stress causes your cells to release excitatory chemicals like cortisol and adrenaline. These chemicals increase your fasting blood sugar level and affect your normal cholesterol level .

CBD helps decrease stress by acting on the serotonin receptor. This receptor helps control your reaction to stress. This CBD effect also relieves anxiety and depression, both of which contribute to chronic stress .

Reduces Appetite and Weight

Being overweight increases your risk of developing high cholesterol levels, diabetes, and hypertension. It also makes you more vulnerable to heart attacks, stroke, and respiratory problems .

Studies suggest that CBD may be an effective agent for weight loss. Compared to THC which binds well to the CB1R, CBD acts more like an antagonist to this receptor. It stimulates the receptor’s allosteric site, a site different from the receptor’s active site which THC binds to. Instead of increasing appetite as THC does, CBD suppresses appetite and weakens food cravings .

Reduces Nicotine Consumption

Nicotine alters your normal cholesterol levels. It decreases the levels of your good cholesterol and increases your bad cholesterol levels. Nicotine also constricts the blood vessel walls, contributes to fatty plaque development, and thickens the blood .

CBD may help with nicotine addiction. It can dampen your cravings for nicotine, and it can also help reduce symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. According to one randomized controlled trial, CBD helped reduce tobacco consumption by about 40% .

Is CBD Safe?

The World Health Organization states that CBD has a relatively good safety profile . Not only is it non-psychoactive but non-toxic and non-addictive as well.

There may be some minor side effects such as eye and mouth dryness, change in bowel movements, drowsiness, and even fatigue, but these are usually well-tolerated by CBD users. These side effects also disappear once the body gets used to CBD.

Where to Buy CBD?

You can buy hemp-derived CBD products in health stores, dispensaries, and online CBD shops. There’s no age limit to buy hemp-derived CBD, nor are there any possession restrictions. You also don’t need to obtain a doctor’s recommendation to buy hemp-derived CBD.

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the use of industrial hemp and all its parts, provided its THC level doesn’t exceed 0.3% . This includes not just its flowers, leaves, stems, seeds but its cannabinoids, derivatives, extracts, acids, isomers, etc. as well.

As for marijuana-derived CBD products, these are only available in states that legalized medical cannabis. Marijuana (any cannabis plant that has more than 0.3% THC) remains illegal on a federal level.

Before buying CBD, always check your state’s cannabis laws.

What are the Factors to Look for When Buying CBD?

CBD’s popularity made it easier for us to buy CBD products. You’ll find different CBD brands with varying potencies and flavors.

Because CBD has now become a part of many people’s health routines, its popularity has also made us more vulnerable to scammers offering substandard products.

To avoid mistakes when buying CBD oil products, be mindful of these factors.

Types of CBD

There are three types of CBD:

  • CBD isolate which contains only pure CBD
  • Broad-spectrum CBD oil which has CBD, other cannabinoids, and terpenes
  • Full-spectrum CBD oil which has CBD, other cannabinoids, terpenes, and THC

All are great products, but if you’re after a more potent effect, choose full-spectrum CBD oil. The addition of THC makes the product stronger since THC amplifies the beneficial effects of the other cannabinoids and terpenes.

Forms of CBD

The most common forms of CBD include:

  • Sublingual CBD (oils and tinctures)
  • Inhalable CBD (flowers, concentrates, and vapes)
  • Edibles (brownies, chocolate, candies, gummies)
  • Topicals (lotions, creams, balms, ointments)
  • Suppositories
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Sublingual, inhalable, topical, and suppository CBD products offer fast onset of effects (less than 30 minutes). CBD is quickly absorbed by the cells and goes directly into the bloodstream.

The effects of edibles, on the other hand, may take some time (about 30 minutes to 1.5 hours) since CBD passes through the digestive organs and the liver. However, its effects last longer since CBD stays in the system for a longer period.

CBD Source

Choose CBD sourced from organically grown hemp and extracted using a safe and clean method like the supercritical CO2 extraction process. These reduce the risk of contamination caused by artificial pesticides and pathogenic microbes.

Again, check your state’s cannabis laws before buying marijuana-derived CBD.

Laboratory Test Results

Stay away from CBD products that don’t have any certificate of analysis. Legitimate CBD producers send product samples to certified third parties for testing. These laboratory tests check for the presence of residual solvents, heavy metals, toxic residues, harmful pesticides, pathogens (bacteria and fungus), etc.

These tests also make sure that the products contain their stated potency by checking their cannabinoid profile and levels.

Product Reviews

You’ll know you have a good CBD product by the number of positive reviews it received. These reviews help you get a good idea of the product’s effects (and side effects, if any).

How Do You Find the Best CBD Dose?

The best doses for:

  • General health and mild symptoms – use low-strength CBD or 1 mg of CBD for every 10 pounds of your body weight
  • Moderate symptoms – use medium-strength CBD or 3 mg of CBD for every 10 pounds of your body weight
  • Severe symptoms – use high-strength CBD or 6 mg of CBD for every 10 pounds of your body weight

For example, you bought 1500 mg of CBD in a 30 mL bottle. First, divide 1500 by 30. This gives you about 50 mg of CBD per one full dropper. Because one dropper has about 20 drops, then one drop gives you about 2.5 mg of CBD.

Let’s say you weigh 150 pounds and want to use it for moderate symptoms, then divide 150 by 10, giving you 15. Multiply 15 by 3, and this gives you 45. This means you need 45 mg of CBD or 18 drops for your moderate symptoms.

You can also lower your starting dose to avoid side effects. Just listen to how your body responds to CBD and adjust the dose accordingly.

If side effects occur, then lower the dose. If there’s no improvement even after three to five days, you can increase it a little bit. Using the low-and-slow pattern, you’ll soon find a dose that works for your health problems.

Don’t just rely on CBD to help lower your high cholesterol levels. Going on a healthy diet and exercise program as well as smoking cessation help a lot in managing your abnormal cholesterol levels.

Final Thoughts — Can CBD Help with Your High Cholesterol Levels?

Can you take CBD for your high cholesterol levels?

Yes, CBD has many properties that may help reduce your cholesterol levels. It helps improve several factors that increase your bad cholesterol levels like blood sugar, stress, appetite, weight, and nicotine. At the same time, CBD also helps reduce risks associated with high cholesterol levels like hypertension, diabetes, stroke, etc.

CBD is safe and can be added to your daily health regimen. If you’re going to use CBD for high cholesterol levels, we recommend seeing your primary care physician. Your doctor can help you come up with a good CBD plan for your medical problems.

Do you use CBD for cholesterol problems? How has it helped you so far? Let us know in the comment section below.

References Used in This Article:

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  2. Stokes, K. Y., Cooper, D., Tailor, A., & Granger, D. N. (2002). Hypercholesterolemia promotes inflammation and microvascular dysfunction: role of nitric oxide and superoxide. Free radical biology & medicine, 33(8), 1026–1036. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0891-5849(02)01015-8
  3. Parhofer K. G. (2015). Interaction between Glucose and Lipid Metabolism: More than Diabetic Dyslipidemia. Diabetes & metabolism journal, 39(5), 353–362. https://doi.org/10.4093/dmj.2015.39.5.353
  4. Jadoon, K. A., Ratcliffe, S. H., Barrett, D. A., Thomas, E. L., Stott, C., Bell, J. D., O’Sullivan, S. E., & Tan, G. D. (2016). Efficacy and Safety of Cannabidiol and Tetrahydrocannabivarin on Glycemic and Lipid Parameters in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel Group Pilot Study. Diabetes care, 39(10), 1777–1786. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc16-0650 [2]
  5. InformedHealth.org [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. What is cholesterol and how does arteriosclerosis develop? 2013 Aug 14 [Updated 2017 Sep 7]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279327/ [3]
  6. Stanley, C. P., Hind, W. H., & O’Sullivan, S. E. (2013). Is the cardiovascular system a therapeutic target for cannabidiol?. British journal of clinical pharmacology, 75(2), 313–322. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2125.2012.04351.x
  7. Dalal, J. J., Padmanabhan, T. N., Jain, P., Patil, S., Vasnawala, H., & Gulati, A. (2012). LIPITENSION: Interplay between dyslipidemia and hypertension. Indian journal of endocrinology and metabolism, 16(2), 240–245. https://doi.org/10.4103/2230-8210.93742 [4]
  8. Baranowska-Kuczko, M., Kozłowska, H., Kloza, M., Sadowska, O., Kozłowski, M., Kusaczuk, M., Kasacka, I., & Malinowska, B. (2020). Vasodilatory effects of cannabidiol in human pulmonary and rat small mesenteric arteries: modification by hypertension and the potential pharmacological opportunities. Journal of hypertension, 38(5), 896–911. https://doi.org/10.1097/HJH.0000000000002333
  9. Maduka, I. C., Neboh, E. E., & Ufelle, S. A. (2015). The relationship between serum cortisol, adrenaline, blood glucose and lipid profile of undergraduate students under examination stress. African health sciences, 15(1), 131–136. https://doi.org/10.4314/ahs.v15i1.18
  10. Blessing, E. M., Steenkamp, M. M., Manzanares, J., & Marmar, C. R. (2015). Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. Neurotherapeutics : the journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics, 12(4), 825–836. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13311-015-0387-1
  11. Klop, B., Elte, J. W., & Cabezas, M. C. (2013). Dyslipidemia in obesity: mechanisms and potential targets. Nutrients, 5(4), 1218–1240. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu5041218
  12. Morgan, C. J., Freeman, T. P., Schafer, G. L., & Curran, H. V. (2010). Cannabidiol attenuates the appetitive effects of Delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol in humans smoking their chosen cannabis. Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 35(9), 1879–1885. https://doi.org/10.1038/npp.2010.58
  13. Krupski W. C. (1991). The peripheral vascular consequences of smoking. Annals of vascular surgery, 5(3), 291–304. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02329389
  14. Morgan, C. J., Das, R. K., Joye, A., Curran, H. V., & Kamboj, S. K. (2013). Cannabidiol reduces cigarette consumption in tobacco smokers: preliminary findings. Addictive behaviors, 38(9), 2433–2436. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2013.03.011 [5]
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Nina Julia

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.

CBD for Cholesterol – August 2022

Why People Are Using CBD for Cholesterol Management

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that almost 29 million American adults have high cholesterol levels (6) . Having excessive cholesterol levels, bad cholesterol in particular, increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.

Cholesterol can be classified into two types: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL).

LDL is known as bad cholesterol that blocks the arteries. The blockage may lead to cardiovascular diseases, like heart attack and stroke.

Meanwhile, HDL is the good cholesterol that carries lipids (fats) from other parts of the body to the liver.

High cholesterol levels may also be a sign of high levels of triglycerides (7) . These substances are a type of lipid found in the blood, like cholesterol. Unused calories stored in the body are converted into this lipid.

Similar to cholesterol, high levels of triglycerides can cause heart problems (8) .

Managing cholesterol-related complications goes beyond trying to lower cholesterol levels.

An increase in good cholesterol or HDL lowers the risk of individuals developing conditions, such as stroke (9) .

Some statins, the conventional prescription medications for cholesterol, boost HDL levels to aid in transporting the bad cholesterol from the arteries to the liver (10) .

However, the use of statins may have side effects, like liver damage and rhabdomyolysis (11) .

Rhabdomyolysis, a condition where the muscles break down rapidly, could lead to kidney failure.

An animal study showed that cannabidiol (CBD) increased good cholesterol in the test subjects (12) .

CBD is the non-psychoactive compound abundant in hemp plants, a variety of cannabis plants.

In the study, which was conducted on obese mice models, the animals were treated with CBD for four weeks. Results showed a 55% increase in HDL cholesterol levels and a 25% decrease in total cholesterol levels.

The authors also observed reduced triglyceride levels in the test subjects.

Thus, CBD’s effects on cholesterol may be similar to medications under the statins drug class. However, compared with statins, CBD’s safety profile may be more favorable.

CBD’s common side effects are minimal, including diarrhea, tiredness, and changes in appetite or weight (13) .

High blood pressure or hypertension can also be linked to high cholesterol levels (14) . When arteries are blocked with cholesterol, it gets harder for the heart to pump, which leads to an increase in blood pressure.

People with diabetes and high cholesterol are at higher risk for cardiovascular complications and need proven cholesterol medications like statins. CBD may be a helpful adjunctive, but should never replace established medications prescribed by your doctor.

In a study, healthy volunteers were administered CBD to see if it could reduce blood pressure (15) . Blood pressure is defined in this study as the body’s response to stress.

Several tests were conducted to induce stress in the volunteers and to increase blood pressure. Results showed that a single dose of CBD reduced blood pressure during the pre-stress and post-stress tests.

Cholesterol is a fat-like and waxy substance essential in hormone and vitamin D production and food digestion.

It can be found in food, like animal meat, dairy products, fried and processed foods. Too much of these fatty and oily foods can increase cholesterol levels.

Cholesterol build-up may come with age. Its development depends on one’s lifestyle and dietary choices.

How CBD Oil Works to Help Cholesterol Management

Having high cholesterol has no symptoms. However, it can lead to several complications, such as stroke and heart attack (16) .

CBD for Stroke

In a study conducted in patients with ischemic stroke, CBD has shown potential as a protective agent in preventing post-ischemic injury by increasing cerebral blood flow. This action also has a therapeutic mechanism in oxidative disorders (17) .

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Ischemic stroke, the most common type of stroke, occurs when the artery that supplies blood to the brain gets blocked.

In another study, CBD decreased tissue damage and inflammatory protein release in cell injury in the early phases of stroke (18) .

The researchers also tested the compound’s effects three days after the ischemic stroke and found that CBD still had cerebroprotective effects.

CBD for Heart Attack

In an experiment conducted on rats, CBD demonstrated its cardioprotective function by reducing the size of the damaged area where arteries are blocked during a heart attack (19) .

Consequently, the same test was given to the same condition ex vivo (outside the test subject). However, the results were the opposite.

The size reduction of the artery’s damaged area in vivo (inside the test subjects) may be related to the compound’s anti-inflammatory properties.

In another study with rabbits as test subjects, the researchers found that CBD helped reduce the size of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and contributed to the restoration of the heart’s left ventricular function (20) .

AMI, which literally means “death of heart muscle,” is also referred to as heart attack (21) .

A review published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology outlined CBD’s potential cardioprotective properties. These positive effects on the heart include CBD’s purported attenuation of cardiovascular response to several types of stress (22) .

The researchers also stated that CBD might have a protective role in reducing the damages in models of stroke.

The Pros and Cons of CBD Oil for Cholesterol

The Pros
  • Compared to most cholesterol prescription drugs that can cause severe side effects, CBD may be safer to use (23) .
  • Studies previously mentioned showed CBD’s potential therapeutic effects on complications related to bad cholesterol build-up.
  • CBD products may be purchased over-the-counter without a doctor’s prescription in states and areas where they are legally available.
The Cons
  • There is a lack of studies that can provide evidence that CBD helps lower cholesterol levels.
  • The use of CBD for treating medical conditions other than epilepsy has not been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (24) .
  • Some CBD products have unverified claims that can harm users. FDA has posted a warning about these false claims (25) .

How CBD Oil Compares to Alternative Treatments for High Cholesterol

Daily physical activity can help increase HDL levels and reduce the risks of cardiovascular complications (26) .

Dietary supplements and food rich in omega-3 can also lower triglyceride levels (27) .

Like these treatments, CBD oil may be explored as a substance that could help improve cholesterol levels and relieve high cholesterol-related complications.

Similar to food that can lower triglyceride levels, CBD products that use hemp oil as their carrier oil contain nutrients that may lower lipid levels in the body.

Hempseed oil, extracted from pressing hemp seeds, contains omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids (28) .

How to Choose the Right CBD Oil for Cholesterol

In choosing which type of CBD oil to use, it is best to know what components each type has.

From its name, CBD isolate is made from isolated cannabidiol.

The CBD type that uses almost all phytocompounds from the cannabis plant is called broad-spectrum CBD. It does not contain the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol or THC.

Full-spectrum CBD contains all the compounds present in the hemp plant. These compounds include phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.

Among the three, the full-spectrum CBD type is preferred. It is believed to create an entourage effect, the maximum synergistic effect of all the compounds present in the Cannabis sativa plant.

CBD Dosage for Cholesterol

There is no standard CBD dosage, as it is dependent on several factors, including body weight, body chemistry, medical condition, and CBD concentration of the product.

First-time users may start with low dosages, about 20 to 40mg of CBD per day. After a week, dosages may be increased by 5mg if desired results are not achieved.

A study showed that up to 1,500mg of CBD per day is well-tolerated (29) . Still, it is best to consult a doctor on the right CBD dosage or other medication choice for cholesterol management.

How to Take CBD Oil for Cholesterol

Conventional ways of taking CBD products include oral ingestion or inhalation.

CBD oil and tinctures are common ways to ingest CBD. Both forms can be taken sublingually or mixed with food or beverages.

Individuals who want to help manage their cholesterol levels may also take CBD through vape pens. The effects are instantaneous since the compound goes directly through the bloodstream when inhaled.

However, it is essential to note that vaping may cause lung problems (30) .

The Legality of CBD

The use of CBD for medical purposes is allowed in 18 out of 50 states and territories in the United States (31) .

Virginia, Wisconsin, and Kansas have legalized the use of CBD for any medical condition diagnosed by a physician.

Iowa and Georgia have also permitted the use of the compound for chronic and intractable pain relief.

CBD products for medicinal purposes should contain 10% to 15% of CBD and no more than 0.3% to 0.5% of THC, with both figures based on the product volume.

Conclusion

Not all cholesterol is harmful to the body. Good cholesterol is essential to overall health. Meanwhile, bad cholesterol may result in complications in different regions of the body, like the cardiovascular system.

CBD oil may be used to manage cholesterol levels. It has suggested health benefits, like regulating heart health and preventing stroke.

It is important to ask for a trusted physician’s advice before using any CBD product and never self-diagnose or self-treat .

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  2. Hayakawa, K., Mishima, K., & Fujiwara, M. (2010). Therapeutic Potential of Non-Psychotropic Cannabidiol in Ischemic Stroke. Pharmaceuticals (Basel, Switzerland) , 3 (7), 2197–2212. https://doi.org/10.3390/ph3072197
  3. High Cholesterol. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://strokefoundation.org.au/About-Stroke/Prevent-Stroke/High%20cholesterol
  4. Stanley, C. P., Hind, W. H., & O’Sullivan, S. E. (2013). Is the cardiovascular system a therapeutic target for cannabidiol?. British journal of clinical pharmacology , 75 (2), 313–322. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2125.2012.04351.x
  5. Gidding, S. S., & Allen, N. B. (2019, May 29). Cholesterol and Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease: A Lifelong Problem. Retrieved from https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/JAHA.119.012924
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, April 2). High Cholesterol Facts. https://www.cdc.gov/cholesterol/facts.htm
  7. Bitzur, R., Cohen, H., Kamari, Y., Shaish, A., & Harats, D. (2009). Triglycerides and HDL cholesterol: stars or second leads in diabetes?. Diabetes care, 32 Suppl 2(Suppl 2), S373–S377. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc09-S343
  8. Ibid.
  9. High Cholesterol. op. cit.
  10. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2018, October 24). HDL cholesterol: How to boost your ‘good’ cholesterol. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/hdl-cholesterol/art-20046388
  11. Golomb, B. A., & Evans, M. A. (2008). Statin adverse effects : a review of the literature and evidence for a mitochondrial mechanism. American journal of cardiovascular drugs : drugs, devices, and other interventions, 8(6), 373–418. https://doi.org/10.2165/0129784-200808060-00004
  12. Jadoon, K.A. op. cit.
  13. Iffland, K., & Grotenhermen, F. (2017). An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies. Cannabis and cannabinoid research , 2 (1), 139–154. https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2016.0034
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  15. Durst, Ronen & Danenberg, Haim & Gallily, Ruth & Mechoulam, Raphael & Meir, Keren & Grad, Etty & Beeri, Ronen & Pugatsch, Thea & Tarsish, Elizabet & Lotan, Chaim. (2007). Cannabidiol, a nonpsychoactive Cannabis constituent, protects against myocardial ischemic reperfusion injury. American journal of physiology. Heart and circulatory physiology. 293. H3602-7. 10.1152/ajpheart.00098.2007.
  16. Avci, E., Dolapoglu, A., & Akgun, D. E. (2018). Role of Cholesterol as a Risk Factor in Cardiovascular Diseases. Cholesterol – Good, Bad and the Heart, N/D. https://doi.org/10.5772/intechopen.76357
  17. Hayakawa, K. op. cit.
  18. Hayakawa, K., Irie, K., Sano, K., Watanabe, T., Higuchi, S., Enoki, M., Nakano, T., Harada, K., Ishikane, S., Ikeda, T., Fujioka, M., Orito, K., Iwasaki, K., Mishima, K., & Fujiwara, M. (2009). Therapeutic Time Window of Cannabidiol Treatment on Delayed Ischemic Damage via High-Mobility Group Box1-Inhibiting Mechanism. Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 32(9), 1538–1544. https://doi.org/10.1248/bpb.32.1538
  19. 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), e93760. https://doi.org/10.1172/jci.insight.93760
  20. Feng, Y., Chen, F., Yin, T., Xia, Q., Liu, Y., Huang, G., Zhang, J., Oyen, R., & Ni, Y. (2015). Pharmacologic Effects of Cannabidiol on Acute Reperfused Myocardial Infarction in Rabbits. Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology, 66(4), 354–363. https://doi.org/10.1097/fjc.0000000000000287
  21. Heart attack. (2020, June 16). Retrieved July 22, 2020, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-attack/symptoms-causes/syc-20373106
  22. Stanley, C. P. op. Cit.
  23. Iffland, K. op. Cit.
  24. Food and Drug Administration. (2020, January 14). FDA and Cannabis: Research and Drug Approval Process. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/news-events/public-health-focus/fda-and-cannabis-research-and-drug-approval-process
  25. Food and Drug Administration. (2020, March 5). What to Know About Products Containing Cannabis and CBD. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/what-you-need-know-and-what-were-working-find-out-about-products-containing-cannabis-or-cannabis
  26. Mann, S., Beedie, C., & Jimenez, A. (2014). Differential effects of aerobic exercise, resistance training and combined exercise modalities on cholesterol and the lipid profile: review, synthesis and recommendations. Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), 44(2), 211–221. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-013-0110-5
  27. Skulas-Ray, A. C., Wilson, P. W. F., Harris, W. S., Brinton, E. A., Kris-Etherton, P. M., Richter, C. K., Jacobson, T. A., Engler, M. B., Miller, M., Robinson, J. G., Blum, C. B., Rodriguez-Leyva, D., de Ferranti, S. D., & Welty, F. K. (2019). Omega-3 Fatty Acids for the Management of Hypertriglyceridemia: A Science Advisory From the American Heart Association. Circulation, 140(12), N/D. https://doi.org/10.1161/cir.0000000000000709
  28. Leizer, Cary & Ribnicky, David & Poulev, Alexander & Dushenkov, Vyacheslav & Raskin, Ilya. (2000). The Composition of Hemp Seed Oil and Its Potential as an Important Source of Nutrition. Journal of Nutraceuticals, Functional & Medical Foods. 2. 35-53. 10.1300/J133v02n04_04.
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  30. Outbreak of Lung Injury Associated with the Use of E-Cigarette, or Vaping, Products. (2020, February 25). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease.html
  31. National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. (2020, June 30). Medical Marijuana Laws. NORML. https://norml.org/laws/medical-laws/

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