How Marijuana Influences Blood Pressure

The human body has a complex reaction to marijuana. From the brain to every organ system in the body, the affects of THC are physically and psychologically apparent. This is because when marijuana is ingested, its constituents immediately work their way into the blood stream. Blood pressure especially has a two-fold result from it, both from acute and chronic, daily use.

Cannabis and its influence on blood pressure?
Cannabis and its influence on blood pressure?

Basically, marijuana lowers blood pressure, but not without mildly raising it first. Within the first hour of ingesting THC, the blood vessels dilate, the heart rate speeds up and the pulse quickens. After the hour, systolic and diastolic blood pressure can drop anywhere from 20-40 points.

Tolerance usually develops among heavy users of marijuana, dulling the initial spike in blood pressure. With continued use, marijuana can help to maintain normal blood pressure, but sudden withdrawal can result in a spike. This explains why chronic users may feel agitated or sleepless upon quitting marijuana.

As with any medication, reaction is dependent on dose, administration and posture. Certain strains of marijuana have different pronounced affects. Sativa strains have more obvious effects on the cardiovascular system, resulting in a stronger spike in blood pressure. Indica strains, on the other hand, have a stronger hypotensive effect, which is the ideal strain for moderating high blood pressure.

Depending on posture during ingestion, marijuana can cause a common reaction called ortostatic type hypotension. Whether one is lying down, sitting or crouching, marijuana will temporarily increase blood pressure. Upon assuming a sudden upright position, blood pressure will drop quickly enough to make one feel lightheaded and pre-syncopal, or “pre-fainting.” On the contrary, ingestion while standing can simply depress blood pressure without raising it.

The exact mechanisms for how marijuana influences blood pressure are not completely understood. Recent research suggests that the body contains a cannabinoid system which regulates heart contractility, although further research still awaits. What is known through empirical evidence is that marijuana does indeed normalize blood pressure levels when they are high. Considering the fact that high blood pressure can result from a variety of factors, marijuana and its influence on stress reduction and muscle relaxation may play a role.

There is no evidence that suggests marijuana has any lasting affect on hypertension, or other long-term cardiovascular affects. Acutely, however, it can cause some unwanted reactions due to its ability to initially spike blood pressure, such as heart palpitations, panic attacks and even heart attacks. Use extreme caution if there is any pre-existing hypertension or heart conditions. All in all, marijuana raises blood pressure similarly to the way that exercise does, and complete tolerance to these effects quickly develops with sustained use. The health risks associated with hypertension are minimal.

34 thoughts on “How Marijuana Influences Blood Pressure”

  1. I’ve had high blood pressure for a while and have been taking meds for 10+ years. I love smoking marijuana bc it helps lower my bp so much, it’s amazing. My doctor approves of my use of marijuana because he knows the benefits. Nice to see the truth for once.

    1. If it’s helping it so much why are you still on meds? Your statement reminds me of someone saying that they don’t wear safety belts in a car because you might not be able to get out of a wreck if there’s a fire. Try lifestyle changes first like diet and exercise before turning to drugs be they natural or man-made…

    1. Raise it. do some , then take your bp. record it it a couple times at different times or days get a good sampling.
      either way, when you take for instance a good bong toke of weed, go ahead and take it again ..your pulse may be a little higher but in my experiene EVERY TIME, BP was down. more systolic drop than diastolic mostly

    2. Really awesomely (: I highly recommend your meth/THC regimen for controlling high blood pressure. I’m not sure what the exact numbers but I am 100% sure when following this inspired therapy, well, I just don’t even give a shit anymore, your the best….hugs and happy scab picken. Oh ya, and be sure you switch over to American Pride cigarettes, it’s worth the eight bucks a pack price to know that you are smoking an all natural “Healthy” cigarette so as not to queer or counter the good work of your groundbreaking meth/weed hypertension remedies. A man ahead of himself and just aside of the herd! No worries, you are out of our way (:

      Anyway, Most Probably not be seein ya around,, soo happy trails for the duration (:

    3. Obviously common sense would tell you when you do drug like that that increase your heart rate and SPEED you up its gona increase you blood pressure as well.. Just Common sense… Apparently not to common though… Js

    4. I pffer a correction – “… how would it AFFECT it.” (not ‘effect’) Conversely, the article incorrectly used the word “affect” (” … has any lasting ‘affect’ on hypertension”) when “effect’ would have been the proper term to use. (… has any lasting EFFECT on hypertension”)

    5. Meth is bad fucking news PERIOD. I can’t really believe it would even be listed along side of marijuana because one is grown from the Earth, and the other is some garbage extracted from chemicals. If you’re doing meth, you’re pretty much done soon enough. I’m 55 and have some dead friends.

  2. just got a doctors reading of my BP, 198/114. high but I’m also in the middle of a gout attack.
    Not a heavy drinker of late,(8 units a day on average) or cigarette smoker(10 a day.)Will now drop the beers and cigs and see what happens on 1/2 gram a day of mainly indica. should be cheaper than what I’ve been doing which is another incentive to try it.

    Will post results later to give you a progression on my BP reduction stratergy.

  3. I KNEW it !! I’ve had 5 heart attacks in the last 8 years. The 1st one hit me about 1/2 way thru my 1st joint after 12 years of abstinence. And every h.a. I’ve had since occurred after smoking pot following a period of no Marijuana use. Needless to say, as any good addict would do in this situation, i try to never run out and I’m careful that I don’t overdo it when I’m smoking for the 1st time after any period of abstinence. Thanks so much for validating my experiences. People more often than not look at me like I’m from another planet when I share my weed story. I’ll be referring my sceptics to this article in the future, lol. Thanks again.

  4. charles ventimiglia

    “Recent research suggests that the body contains a cannabinoid system which regulates heart contractility, although further research still awaits”

    This is exactly what I have been thinking for very long time. There are properties to marijuana that helps people with psychological needs people have for a great variety of things. I personally believe it was placed on this planet to aid human in a great amount of ways. We would not have medical marijuana if this was not fact.

    With first-time use, people get a mini overdose of marijuana and usually gives effects on them that lead to self-conscience feelings. Like everyone in public knows they are stoned. With use this goes away but those qualities in marajuana can be exploited to allow a person to see their involvement in their life’s events with much more clarity than people like to take this look at themselves but usually needs the person to get some sort of trigger. Like it is a holiday and you are not with a love one because of quarreling you were adamant that you were right about. It lets you then see the wrong as well along with your role clearly. This by no means is a mistake of this plant. If it can help control the pain receptors in the bodies of pain victims this stuff has great potential for a vast amount of medicine. The creativity aspect of it allows for better writing and thinking towards writing and why a great many writers are users of marijuana, as well as many others who perform artistically.

  5. The first time I smoked weed was in 2012. I can’t really remember how I felt because I was too busy laughing at the movie Ted. I continued with the behaviour for about two years & had to drop out of Engineering school were I was pursuing a course on Civil & Structural eng. I couldn’t really say it was the weed no! I hated that place. Back to the indica I think it’s a wonderful herb, a puff throws me into this empty euphoria that gets me thinking about my wrongs & rights. It’s like all of a sudden you can tell how many people you’ve wronged and sometimes I try my best to make ammends to such people & even throw in a few jokes in there. Weed has definatey got me laid also but that is for another day.

    1. Hahahah….the ending blunt!!!!!……. ‘Weed has def got me laid also but that’s 4 another day….. …Hysterical!!!

    2. Love it! Engineering school then turns to weed and drops out. That’s the reason they call it “dope”. Also, not really a good idea to be plying people with drugs in order to satisfy your sexual needs — that may be criminal.

  6. Thanks for the unbiased info. Definitely helped me understand what was going on. And yes, Indica is very different from Sativa. I don’t smoke in community unless I know what’s being offered. They scoff at me but it’s my body and at this time of my life, being informed is more important than being ridiculed.

  7. I loved smoking pot but I have not smoke in a year because of bad anxiety I take to many meds now as it is and I have high blood pressure I have smoke pot for 12 years I was a heavy pot smoker I miss it but some reason it messes with my mine and anxiety , make heart go crazy but I would love to smoke it again if I could find something that wouldn’t mess with my anxiety believe me I tried a lot of different pot but most of it is in my mine I think 420 all the way

  8. I measured my bp a couple of days ago after a bong of heavy thc marijuana. I do have hypertension, normally around 150/85. According my doctor, I also need to lower it to about 120/70, since I have a fairly large aneurisma in my brain with uncertain treatment, and so, I also use a light dose of a beta-blocker.
    My readings of this session just before smoking, then just after, and then in lapses of some 45-50 minutes each time (one record each time, listening with headphones): 157/87; 195/110; 186/105; 179/91; 141/80; 129/75 (I may post the track list for correlations… 🙂 ). Pulse (I normally have low readings, around 45 when sleeping) jumped from 64 to 94, then after some minutes sustained about 72 for the time measured (easily measured with an Watch). While it did lower by bp, it kept very high for almost two hours after smoking.

    I’m worried with these results, since this is something I would greatly be sorry to quit if required to. I’ve been smoking for 3 yrs now. My voyages when high are just incredibly profound: my whole life, loved ones, achievements and failures are in revision almost with each tune I listen. Fantastic ideas, thoughts, images. Unfortunately, very little of that I’m able to transcript on paper after these sessions.
    Will keep monitoring this again, and also with pure indica strains. May post results if someone is interested.

    1. update: a couple of quite obsessive bp tracking of indica strains gave me quite different results from above. Although just after smoking my bp do spikes to some 180/100, it quickly lowers to under 120/70 region (30 min after smoking is already approaching that), and those low readings last for over 15 hours. I haven’t achieved that low pressure even after several years of daily usage of beta blockers.
      Unfortunately (is it?), the effect isn’t permanent. A therapeutical treatment seems to require to smoke daily to keep that low readings. I stop smoking daily and my bp goes 150/80 or higher, as usual.

  9. Unfortunately, marijuana sends me into hypertension, irregular heart Rythm and resting heart rate of 140bpm for like 3 hours. Then I’m exhausted after the uncomfortable experience. I smoked for 7 years with no problems. One random day this started to happen, sadly I’ve had to give it up for good… I’m glad it helps everyone else out though! Definitely has a lot of medicinal uses!

    1. Mike, not every MJ is the same. A switch to an Indica dominant strain will help with hypertension. You probably smoked some strong sativa that sent your BP through the roof. Indica will not do that.

  10. I am 66 yrs old, work 40 + hours in a factory, do not drink or smoke ANYTHING, had a lot of fresh veggies with my lunch, and my reading was 123/63. Maybe pot isn’t such a good idea for some. Exercise, drink plenty of water, and eat healthy. Much simpler than risking arrest for possession. My state is not pot friendly, but I really wouldn’t rely on it for blood pressure control. Cancer patients are a different story. Anything that eases their agony should be OK.

    1. I agree. People cannot just think they can keep downing burgers fries and milkshakes and expect to have normal blood pressure only by using marijuana. This article also doesn’t make any distinction between the benefits or adverse effects of smoking vs vaping marijuana – each can have their own set of problems.

  11. This is a great site. I was just measuring my bp and was just curious to know why my bp was 109/64. I am close to 50 years of age and although my Omron bp machine said Ideal I was still curious to know why my diastolic was so low and if t mattered. I read many comments about cannabis and how it does help in strains of Ativa, which I knew nothing about. Very happy that cannabis is legal in Canada.

  12. It says, ” With continued use, marijuana can help to maintain normal blood pressure. ” <– Really.. Man that's a Trip! I wonder how many doctors in the US know that.. and it's a Great reason for local governments to allow the citizens to grow their own marijuana for personal use.

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