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Cannabis might lower blood pressure in older adults, says study

A study from 2020 found the number of Americans age 65 and older who smoke marijuana or enjoy edibles increased 75% from 2015 to 2018. A newer study suggests that might be a good thing for some.

The study by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and its affiliated Soroka University Medical Center found medical cannabis might reduce blood pressure in older adults.

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

The researchers studied patients ages 60 and older who had hypertension. The subjects were prescribed cannabis, then monitored with 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure devices.

The researchers also performed electrocardiograms, blood tests and took body measurements before the patients began their cannabis use and three months afterward.

They found a significant reduction in 24-hour systolic and diastolic blood pressure values, with the lowest point occurring three hours after ingesting cannabis either orally via oil extracts or by smoking. Patients showed reductions in blood pressure during both daytime and nighttime, with more significant changes at night.

One reason for the lower blood pressure, the researchers wrote, might be because cannabis eases any pain symptoms the older adults had.

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