Marijuana Associated with Reduced Blood Pressure in Older Adults with Hypertension

A new prospective study suggested that the use of prescription marijuana in older patients with hypertension was associated with a reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure after administration.

“Older adults are the fastest growing group of medical cannabis users, yet evidence on cardiovascular safety for this population is scarce,” Dr. Ran Abuhasira of the BGU Faculty of Health Sciences in Israel, and the BGU-Soroka Cannabis Clinical Research Institute, said in a press release. “This study is part of our ongoing effort to provide clinical research on the actual physiological effects of cannabis over time.”

To assess the impact of cannabis use on bloods pressure, heart rate, and metabolic parameters in older adults with hypertension, the researchers enrolled 26 patients (mean age 70.42 years, 53.8% female) in a prospective study who had a new prescription for cannabis. The researchers then performed 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, ECGs, blood tests, and anthropometric measurements prior to the initiation of cannabis therapy, and again at three months after therapy. The primary outcome of interest was mean change in 24-hour blood pressure at three months.

According to the results, mean 24-hour systolic and diastolic blood pressure was reduced by 5.0 mm Hg (systolic) and 4.5 mm Hg (diastolic; P<0.001 for both). The low point for blood pressure and measured heart rate occurred at three hours post-cannabis administration. The authors reported that the number of normal “dippers” changed from 27.3% prior to administration to 45.5% after administration. The team reported no changes in metabolic parameters assessed by blood tests, anthropometric measurements, or ECG.

“Cannabis research is in its early stages and BGU is at the forefront of evaluating clinical use based on scientific studies,” Doug Seserman, chief executive officer of American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, remarked in a press release. “This new study is one of several that has been published recently by BGU on the medicinal benefits of cannabis.”

The study was published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine.