Lowering Your Cholesterol
Having high cholesterol levels is one of the most common issues in the United States. Millions of people are suffering from an increased risk of developing heart disease.
They are all potentially life-threatening, as they can lead to multiple circulatory issues and stroke.
A lot of research is conducted to fight this ailment, and researchers are investigating the health benefits of marijuana in terms of whether it can alleviate a high cholesterol level.
Can using cannabis help lower my cholesterol? No, there is no medical study that can verify this claim. Some research shows specific cannabinoids that can help balance out the cholesterol levels, but it is not yet verified and is still in the preclinical stages.
In this post, you’ll learn more about cholesterol and how it will affect your body. You will also learn more about the health benefits of using medical weed to lower your cholesterol.
What Is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a lipoprotein. This means it consists of both fat and protein molecules. It is a waxy substance and a key component of your cell membranes, and it has different functions in your body.
This includes an acting precursor to many sex hormones and Vitamin D production.
The human body can make all the cholesterol it needs, and cholesterol can be found primarily in the liver. The only issue here is that many foods also contain cholesterol, including meat, eggs, and many dairy products.
For this reason alone, people who eat this food daily may end up having a high cholesterol level, which can be a significant risk factor for heart failure.
Cholesterol and Heart Health
While some cholesterol is vital for good health, too much can be detrimental to the body. This is because excess cholesterol can combine with other substances and build up in your blood vessels.
These fatty build-ups are commonly known as plaques, and they contribute to atherosclerosis, which is a narrowing and hardening of your arteries.
Atherosclerosis can cause inflammation in your blood vessels. It can also lead to serious coronary artery disease. In addition to that, if a plaque ruptures, it can make your blood clot and block the coronary artery.
As a result, your heart won’t get sufficient oxygen, which can cause angina and heart attacks. Atherosclerosis is often associated with other types of cardiovascular sickness, including carotid artery disease, peripheral arterial diseases, and strokes.
It is also worth mentioning that not all cholesterol is bad for you. There are several types of cholesterol that you should know about:
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) – This is the bad cholesterol, as it is the type of cholesterol that can form plaques. As a result, it can lead to heart-related issues.
- Very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) – This is the same as LDL. VLDL can form plaques in your arteries, and it also tends to carry triglycerides rather than just plain cholesterol. Triglycerides are another fat type that can raise the risk of heart-related problems.
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL) – This is known as the good cholesterol, as HDL transports LDL from the arteries to the liver for proper disposal.
Lowering Your Cholesterol
When it comes to cholesterol levels, some people have a naturally higher cholesterol level than others, and age, ethnicity, and genetics can play a big role in it.
Many of the factors that raise cholesterol levels have something to do with lifestyle. That’s why anybody can alter them. If you desire to lessen your cholesterol, you need to start eating a healthy diet.
Try to eat minimal meat, dairy, chocolate, baked goods, and fried and processed foods.
Try to maintain regular physical exercise to have healthy body weight and increase your HDL. Smoking can play a big role as well, so avoid it as much as possible.
Smoking can raise LDL levels and decrease your HDL levels. If an individual cannot control their cholesterol level by making lifestyle changes, their physician will prescribe them cholesterol medication.
Some of the most common cholesterol drugs are Simvastatin, Atorvastatin, Pravastatin, and Rosuvastatin. These medications can help and are effective, but they can cause some unpleasant side effects.
As a result, many have been leaning toward different alternatives like cannabis or CBD.
How Does Cannabis Affect Your Cholesterol?
When it comes to cholesterol and cannabis, there is little research on this topic. However, a handful of studies suggest that it may have some effect on the human body.
A 2013 study conducted by the Diabetes Care Journal compared 30 cannabis smokers’ cholesterol levels to those of 30 control subjects. Cannabis use ranged from three to 30 joints per day, and the median was six for over two to 38 years.
This particular research found that cannabis smokers had lower HDL levels than the control subjects. However, there were no significant differences when it came to the total cholesterol level LDL, triglycerides, or free fatty acids.
More Research on Cannabinoids and Cholesterol
In a 2018 review in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the role of cannabinoids was investigated in many cardiovascular diseases.
The paper focused primarily on the delta-9 THC, as the compound is responsible for producing a different cannabis high. The authors found very conflicting evidence regarding whether THC prompts or inhibits atherosclerosis.
In this review, it appears that by stimulating the CB1 receptors in the endocannabinoid system, THC can increase oxidative stress and induce more plaque formation.
On the other hand, if you stimulate it with CB2 receptors, it could reduce inflammation and inhibit LDL activity. This review also mentioned the CARDIA study, a project that followed cannabis users and nonusers for over 25 years.
It was found that cannabis users had an increased risk of atherosclerosis only if they smoked tobacco.
The remaining studies that the review included had inconsistent results, so far more research on this matter is required to understand the complex relationship between cannabis and cholesterol fully.
The good news is, more clear-cut evidence is emerging regarding the use of non-intoxicating cannabinoid cannabidiol, most commonly known as CBD.
CBD and Cholesterol
A recent CBD study shows a promising result to understand how cannabis can affect cholesterol levels. A study in Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology found that this compound can influence cholesterol homeostasis.
This is the kind of process in which cells have regular cholesterol levels. It seems that the endocannabinoid system plays a vital role.
According to Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, CBD increased cholesterol levels in wild-type mice. However, it didn’t impact transgenic mice that already had a high cholesterol level.
It was also found that CBD increased HDL by 55% in many obese mice while reducing 25% of cholesterol.
Therefore, it appears that CBD can help regulate cholesterol levels in your body. It is worth mentioning that these are the results of laboratory studies; it is impossible to say how it can react in the human body.
Safety of Taking CBD Oil with High Cholesterol
CBD is known to be non-intoxicating, and most experts believe it would have a good safety profile. This means that it should be safe for people with high cholesterol to try.
However, there is a possibility of complications involving the use of CBD and cholesterol medication. This is because CBD inhibits liver enzyme activity, including those responsible for metabolizing cholesterol drugs like simvastatin and atorvastatin.
As a result, taking CBD oil with cholesterol medications can lead to adverse effects. If you want to use CBD oil as a form of treatment, you should consult with your physician for further clarification.
Balancing Your Cholesterol
When it comes to a healthy amount of cholesterol in your body, your genes and lifestyle can play a vital role.
All the studies mentioned above are still in their preclinical stages and are alongside proven methods such as diet, healthy weight, regular exercise, and not smoking.
Researchers are still trying to prove if cannabis or specific cannabinoids can help maintain your cholesterol levels.
Smoking is probably not the healthiest way of consuming cannabis if you want to try this treatment plan.
Also, you can assume you will have higher cholesterol levels with an excessive intake of animal products. It is essential to consider cholesterol from all sides and how different factors influence it.
As of today, there is no sufficient evidence to conclusively state whether cannabis is good or bad for your cholesterol level. While it appears that BD can help in regulating the effect on cholesterol levels, there are still human trials that are currently lacking.
When it comes to THC, matters are even less clear. It is advisable to avoid smoking, as it can affect your cholesterol level. If you have concerns, you should always ask for guidance from your physician.