Medical cannabis may help to reduce blood pressure in older adults, according to researchers from Ben-Gurion University (BGU) of the Negev and its affiliated Soroka University Medical Center.

The study, which was published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine, is the first of its kind to focus on the effect of cannabis on blood pressure, heart rate, and metabolic parameters in adults 60 years of age and older with hypertension.

"Older adults are the fastest growing group of medical cannabis users, yet evidence on cardiovascular safety for this population is scarce," said Ran Abuhasira, MD, of the BGU Faculty of Health Sciences and the BGU-Soroka Cannabis Clinical Research Institute, 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."

The patients were evaluated using 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, ECG, blood tests, and body measurements, both before and 3 months after initiating cannabis therapy. The researchers found a significant reduction in 24-hour systolic and diastolic blood pressure values, with the lowest point occurring in 3 hours after ingesting cannabis either orally via oil extracts or by smoking, according to the study authors.

The patients showed reductions in blood pressure in both daytime and nighttime, with more significant changes at night. The BGU researchers theorize that the relief from pain, the indication for prescription cannabis in most patients, may also have contributed to a reduction in blood pressure.

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

Cannabis reduces blood pressure in older adults, according to Ben-Gurion University researchers. EurekAlert! Published February 8, 2021. Accessed February 10, 2021.