Does Cannabis Cause or Decrease High Blood Pressure?

Medically reviewed by Dr. Brian Kessler, MD

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a cardiovascular disease where blood pressure is consistently higher than what is considered normal. Blood pressure is usually measured with a cuff and a specialized meter that calculates diastolic and systolic pressure. These two numbers indicate the pressure of blood circulating from the heart to the rest of the body through its arteries.

High blood pressure was first recognized by ancient Chinese and Indian doctors as “hard pulse disease.” It wasn’t until the mid-1900s that it became routine to measure the pulse as part of a medical exam, and in 1967 the first of many large research studies was published that laid the basis for how doctors now treat hypertension.1

High blood pressure can affect someone for years without a diagnosis. According to the CDC, not only do 47% of adults in the United States have high blood pressure , but 76% do not have it under control.

A recently published study looked at patient visits to primary care doctors over ten years and found that less than one-third of adults over age 60 with hypertension received appropriate medical treatment.2 The study ultimately highlighted areas where the United States medical community has fallen short on treatment for this common disease.

What Causes High Blood Pressure?

There are two types of high blood pressure: primary hypertension and secondary hypertension. 

With primary hypertension, which often happens gradually as part of the aging process, there is no way to identify a cause. Secondary hypertension can occur as a side effect or complication of another condition or medication. 

Risk factors for hypertension can vary from lifestyle choices to genetics: 

  • Family history of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, or diabetes
  • Being of African descent
  • Being age 55+
  • Having an unhealthy weight
  • No regular physical activity 
  • A high-sodium diet
  • Smoking or use of tobacco products
  • Regular, heavy alcohol consumption
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High Blood Pressure Signs & Symptoms

If you have high blood pressure, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nosebleed

While these are general symptoms, most people won’t have any and may live for a long time without even knowing they have hypertension. Because hypertension can only be diagnosed by measuring blood pressure it is vital that those over 18 get checked regularly.

Primary hypertension will need to be managed for life, while secondary hypertension often goes away after treating its cause. Causes of secondary hypertension can be:

  • Some kidney diseases
  • Coarctation of the aorta
  • Thyroid problems and other conditions involving hormone levels
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Over-the-counter and prescription medications and supplements
  • Illegal drugs

There are 4 classifications of blood pressure in adults, including two stages of hypertension:

  1. Normal blood pressure:  Pressure is less than 120 systolic and less than 80 diastolic.
  2. Elevated blood pressure: Pressure is between 120-129 systolic and more than 80 diastolic. At this stage doctors recommend healthy lifestyle changes. Medication may be prescribed.
  3. Stage 1 hypertension: Pressure is between 130-139 systolic and 80-89 diastolic. Blood pressure medication and healthier lifestyle changes are usually part of treatment.
  4. Stage 2 hypertension: Systolic pressure is 140 or higher and diastolic is 90 or higher. Treatment focuses on lowering blood pressure to a healthy level through combination therapy, the prescription of two or more medications, and healthy lifestyle changes.

If left unmanaged, high blood pressure can lead to heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease, all listed among the top 10 leading causes of death in the US. 

How Cannabis Can Help with High Blood Pressure

Since the early 2000s there have been many studies on medical marijuana, the endocannabinoid system, and how cannabinoids and blood pressure may interact in relation to cardiovascular health.

  • In 2020, the American Heart Association (AHA) released a statement about cannabinoids and blood pressure. The statement said that cannabis use is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular issues, THC increases heart rate, but it also acknowledged that CBD may reduce heart rate and blood pressure. Ultimately, the AHA determined that the data around marijuana and cardiovascular health is inconclusive and more research is needed.3
  • A 2001 study interviewed 3882 patients after a heart attack and found that cannabis users were less likely to have a history of angina or hypertension, but more likely to be at risk for developing high blood pressure.4 On the contrary, a study published in 2017 followed 5113 adults for 25+ years and found no association with cannabis use and cardiovascular disease during the ages that primary hypertension generally occurs.5
  • In Israel, a 2021 study followed 26 hypertensive patients age 60 and older that underwent medical marijuana therapy for 3 months. Researchers saw a significant decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure over a 24-hour period, with the largest decrease at 3 hours after cannabis use. These results support further research on a larger scale for the use of cannabis to lower blood pressure.6
  • In a recent study, researchers injected a small sample set of mice with Cannabigerol (CBG) and concluded that it lowered blood pressure without affecting heart rate, movement, and response to stimuli. These results suggest that CBG could have promise for lowering blood pressure without restrictive side effects.7
  • A 2017 study determined that using CBD while stressed can reduce resting blood pressure, but at the same time showed evidence of a higher heart rate. This study was only conducted on nine male adults without hypertension, but these results show that CBD’s calming potential will most likely continue to be studied in relation to blood pressure and cardiovascular health.8

When these studies are looked at as a whole, it becomes clear that much more research is needed to fully understand how cannabis may affect high blood pressure and other cardiovascular-related conditions. Much of this is due to inconsistent testing methods, insufficient data, and marijuana’s federal status as a Schedule 1 drug complicating its ability to be used in clinical trials.

Looking to the future, there is promise for CBD and other cannabinoids, like CBG, to be studied for their effects on blood pressure and response to stress. At the same time, the healthcare community is divided on whether cannabis has any benefit for high blood pressure, so it is best to use caution, especially when already at risk for hypertension. And if you do have high blood pressure, smoking any substance is not recommended.

If marijuana is to be used when high blood pressure is a concern, it is vital to work with a doctor to determine the best course of action. Medical marijuana products that are high in CBD and that can be accurately dosed, like tinctures and capsules, are recommended. It is also important to be aware that cannabis users have been known to make lifestyle choices that may heighten the risk of high blood pressure.

Legality and Doctor’s Recommendation

To determine if your state considers high blood pressure to be a qualifying condition for medical marijuana, check out our Laws & Regulations section for the medical cannabis rules for your state.

If you find that your state recognizes high blood pressure as a qualifying medical condition, you can seek a doctor’s recommendation to register for your state’s medical marijuana program. 

How Nugg Can Help

NuggMD is the nation's leading medical marijuana technology platform, serving patients in 21 states and growing. We’ve connected over 1,000,000 patients with their new medical marijuana doctors face-to-face via our state-of-the-art telemedicine platform. 

We believe that every human being has the right to explore the benefits of medical cannabis and are fully committed to helping each patient explore all of their options in their journey to wellness. For further information on whether you qualify for medical cannabis, select your state.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Cannabis & High Blood Pressure

Can I use THC for high blood pressure?

Currently, there is no proof that THC has any benefit for high blood pressure. The most common method of consuming THC is smoking, which is not recommended for anyone experiencing high blood pressure. Always consult with your doctor before using cannabis for any cardiovascular condition.

Is CBD okay to use for high blood pressure?

CBD’s ability to lower blood pressure has been demonstrated in men without hypertension, but it also raised their heart rate and has not been studied on a larger scale. Make sure to consult with your doctor when considering using CBD for high blood pressure. 

Does smoking marijuana cause high blood pressure?Marijuana use has been associated with an increased risk of negative cardiovascular effects, but researchers have so far been unable to separate effects of marijuana from the negative effects of its smoke. Either way, smoking anything increases the risk of hypertension, and individuals with high blood pressure who are considering cannabis should look to edibles, tinctures, and other oral consumption methods. Until more is known, it is best to avoid smoking cannabis and consult with your doctor when worried about high blood pressure.


1.  “Harold on History | Historical Perspectives on Hypertension.” n.d. American College of Cardiology. Accessed March 16, 2020.

2. Chiu N, Chiu L, Aggarwal R, Raber I, Bhatt DL, Mukamal KJ. Trends in Blood Pressure Treatment Intensification in Older Adults With Hypertension in the United States, 2008 to 2018. Hypertension. 2022 Sep 16. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.122.19882. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36111537.

3. Page, Robert L., Larry A. Allen, Robert A. Kloner, Colin R. Carriker, Catherine Martel, Alanna A. Morris, Mariann R. Piano, Jamal S. Rana, and Jorge F. Saucedo. 2020. “Medical Marijuana, Recreational Cannabis, and Cardiovascular Health: A Scientific Statement from the American Heart Association.” Circulation 142 (10).

4. Mittleman, Murray A., Rebecca A. Lewis, Malcolm Maclure, Jane B. Sherwood, and James E. Muller. 2001. “Triggering Myocardial Infarction by Marijuana.” Circulation 103 (23): 2805–9.

5. Reis, Jared P, Reto Auer, Michael P Bancks, David C Goff, Cora E Lewis, Mark J Pletcher, Jamal S Rana, James M Shikany, and Stephen Sidney. 2017. “Cumulative Lifetime Marijuana Use and Incident Cardiovascular Disease in Middle Age: The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study.” American Journal of Public Health 107 (4): 601–6.

6. Abuhasira, Ran, Yosef S. Haviv, Merav Leiba, Adi Leiba, Larisa Ryvo, and Victor Novack. 2021. “Cannabis Is Associated with Blood Pressure Reduction in Older Adults – a 24-Hours Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring Study.” European Journal of Internal Medicine, January.

7. Vernail, Victoria L., Sarah S. Bingaman, Yuval Silberman, Wesley M. Raup-Konsavage, Kent E. Vrana, and Amy C. Arnold. 2022. “Acute Cannabigerol Administration Lowers Blood Pressure in Mice.” Frontiers in Physiology 13 (May).

8. Jadoon, Khalid A., Garry D. Tan, and Saoirse E. O’Sullivan. 2017. “A Single Dose of Cannabidiol Reduces Blood Pressure in Healthy Volunteers in a Randomized Crossover Study.” JCI Insight 2 (12).

The information in this article and any included images or charts are for educational purposes only. This information is neither a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional legal advice or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about laws, regulations, or your health, you should always consult with an attorney, physician or other licensed professional.

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