Does cannabis affect cholesterol levels for better or worse? We take a look at the current research on this complex subject matter. *Scroll down to the bottom of the article to find your discount code for ALL Cannacares CBD Products There are plenty of frequent ailments that will affect practically everyone eventually. From arthritis to aching knees, there are some things that are just a given when it comes to getting older. Easily one of the most How to Use CBD Oil for High Cholesterol Elevated cholesterol is something many people will have to contend with during the course of their life. So what is cholesterol and why is it so bad?
Does Cannabis Affect Your Cholesterol?
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With cannabis use becoming more commonplace, some health-conscious consumers have begun wondering how it may affect cholesterol levels.
As is often the case, there exists sparse clinical research on the subject. However, early studies show that cannabinoids, especially CBD, can indeed impact cholesterol in some circumstances.
So, does cannabis affect cholesterol for better or worse? We explain all you need to know in this in-depth article. But first, let’s look at what cholesterol is and how it influences our health.
What Is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a lipoprotein, meaning it consists of both fat and protein molecules. It is a waxy substance and a key component of cell membranes. It has several crucial functions in the body, including acting as a precursor to sex hormones and vitamin D production.
Cholesterol is a lipoprotein that serves several critical functions in the body – including acting as a precursor to sex hormone and Vitmain D production.
The liver and intestines are major contributors to the endogenous production of cholesterol within the body. However, many foods also contain cholesterol, including meat, eggs, and dairy products. For this reason, people who eat these foods regularly may end up with high cholesterol – a significant risk factor for heart disease.
Cholesterol and Heart Health
Although some cholesterol is essential for good health, too much can be detrimental to an individual’s health. This is because excess cholesterol can combine with other substances and build up in the blood vessels.
These fatty build-ups are known as plaques, which can contribute to atherosclerosis, a narrowing, and hardening of the arteries.
Atherosclerosis causes inflammation in the blood vessels and can lead to coronary artery disease. Furthermore, if a plaque ruptures, blood clots can form and block the coronary artery. This prevents the heart from getting sufficient oxygen and can cause angina and heart attacks.
Atherosclerosis is also associated with other types of cardiovascular disease, including carotid artery disease, peripheral arterial disease, and strokes.
However, not all cholesterol is harmful. There are several different types, including:
- >Low-density lipoprotein (LDL): LDL is sometimes known as ‘bad cholesterol.’ It is the type of cholesterol that can form plaques and raise the risk of heart disease.
- Very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL): Like LDL, high levels of VLDL cholesterol have been associated with the development of plaque deposits on artery walls. However, VLDL is released into the bloodstream to supply body tissues with triglycerides. Triglycerides are another type of fat that could raise the risk of heart disease.
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL): Sometimes known as ‘good cholesterol,’ HDL transports LDL from the arteries to the liver for elimination.
What Is the Normal Cholesterol Level?
Target cholesterol levels vary depending on a person’s age and gender. The table below is a general guide:
Type of Cholesterol
Anyone Under 19
Males Age 20+
Females Age 20+
Non-HDL (including LDL, VLDL)
How to Lower Cholesterol
Some people have naturally higher cholesterol levels than others. Age, ethnicity, and genetics all play a role. However, many of the factors that influence cholesterol levels relate to lifestyle, and, therefore, individuals can alter them.
Some of the best ways to lower cholesterol include:
- Eating a healthy diet (minimal meat, dairy, chocolate, baked goods, fried, and processed foods)
- Engaging in regular physical exercise to maintain a healthy body weight and increase HDL
- Not smoking (smoking raises LDL levels and decreases HDL)
If an individual cannot control their cholesterol by making these lifestyle adjustments, their doctor may prescribe a cholesterol-lowering medication. Some of the most common cholesterol drugs are called ‘statins’, including:
Although these medications have demonstrated their efficacy in robust clinical trials, unpleasant side effects can still occur. Therefore, some people are looking for more natural alternatives and may be wondering whether cannabis or CBD could help.
So, how does cannabis affect cholesterol? Let’s take a look.
How Does Cannabis Affect Your Cholesterol?
There is currently little research on cannabis and cholesterol. However, there are a handful of studies that suggest it may have some effect.
A 2013 study for the Diabetes Care journal compared 30 cannabis smokers’ cholesterol levels with 30 control subjects. Cannabis use ranged from 3–30 joints per day (median 6) over 2–38 years (median 9.5).
The researchers found the cannabis smokers had lower HDL levels than the control subjects. However, there were no significant differences in total cholesterol, LDL, triglycerides, or free fatty acids. It is unclear whether the decrease in HDL levels was due to cannabis itself or the consumption method of smoking.
Furthermore, these results differ from those of a 2020 study that looked at CBD-containing hemp oil that illustrated significant improvements in HDL level among participants.
More Research on Cannabinoids and Cholesterol
A 2018 review for the Journal of the American Heart Association investigated the role of cannabinoids in cardiovascular disease. The paper primarily focused on delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound responsible for producing the typical cannabis high.
The authors found conflicting evidence regarding whether THC promotes or inhibits atherosclerosis.
It appears that by stimulating CB1 receptors in the endocannabinoid system, THC could increase oxidative stress and induce plaque formation. However, by stimulating CB2 receptors, it could reduce inflammation and inhibit LDL activity.
The review also mentions the CARDIA study, a project that followed cannabis users and non-users over 25 years. It found that cannabis users only had an increased risk of atherosclerosis if they smoked tobacco as well. The remaining studies in the review had inconclusive results, demonstrating the complex nature of cannabis chemistry.
Far more research is necessary before we fully understand the complex relationship between cannabis and cholesterol. However, more clear-cut evidence is emerging regarding the non-intoxicating cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD).
CBD and Cholesterol
Recent research into CBD may help us to understand how cannabis affects cholesterol.
A 2011 study for Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology found that the compound influences cholesterol homeostasis, the process by which cells regulate cholesterol levels. This study illustrates how the endocannabinoid may play a role in cholesterol homeostasis.
A 2017 review for Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research investigated further. It found that CBD increased cholesterol levels in wild-type mice. However, it did not impact transgenic mice that already had high cholesterol. It also found that CBD increased HDL by 55% in obese mice while reducing total cholesterol by 25%.
Therefore, it appears that CBD has the potential to regulate cholesterol levels in the body. However, these are the results of laboratory studies, and it is impossible to say how they translate to humans.
Is It Safe to Take CBD Oil with High Cholesterol?
CBD is non-intoxicating, and most experts consider it to have a good safety profile. Therefore, it should be safe for people with high cholesterol to try.
However, there is a possible complication involving the use of CBD and cholesterol medication. CBD inhibits the activity of several liver enzymes. They include those responsible for metabolizing the cholesterol drugs simvastatin and atorvastatin.
Therefore, taking CBD oil with cholesterol medication could potentially produce adverse effects. Anyone considering doing so should consult a physician for further advice.
Does Cannabis Affect Your Cholesterol? Final Thoughts
There is insufficient evidence to conclusively say whether cannabis is good or bad for cholesterol.
While it appears that CBD could have a regulatory effect on cholesterol levels, human studies are currently lacking. And when it comes to THC, matters are even less clear-cut.
Some research studies suggest cannabis could raise the risk of atherosclerosis, while others state the opposite.
What we do know, though, is that smoking is a major risk factor for atherosclerosis. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid this consumption method, especially with tobacco.
Anyone worried about how cannabis use may be affecting their cholesterol levels should discuss their concerns with a knowledgeable physician.
Can CBD oil treat high cholesterol levels?
There are plenty of frequent ailments that will affect practically everyone eventually. From arthritis to aching knees, there are some things that are just a given when it comes to getting older.
Easily one of the most prevalent of this list is cholesterol. This irritating and sometimes severely painful condition affects millions each year, and there are remarkably few options for those looking to try and treat it.
Some people are attempting to combine CBD and cholesterol in an effort to try and diminish their continuous cholesterol plague. But does it work?
Well, first of all, we need to learn what cholesterol is and how we can typically treat it.
What Is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is commonly known as an evil, dangerous substance that ruins your life, no matter how much you have.
However, cholesterol is one of the most mischaracterized bodily substances that we know of today. Instead of being wholly terrible and dangerous, cholesterol is actually a vital part of our cells and health; without it, we wouldn’t be able to survive.
Cholesterol is used to help make all kinds of vital molecules in your bodies, such as your hormones and your ability to intake vitamins. It exists in all of your cells and is what enables them to function correctly.
While the precise cholesterol definition feels almost too confusing to understand, the actual function of cholesterol is far simpler.
Essentially, cholesterol is necessary for the production of so many things that your body needs to flourish. Furthermore, it helps to regulate membrane fluidity in different temperatures, something vitally important for healthy cell growth and maintenance.
The confusing aspect of cholesterol is that we treat it as having two different definitions based on its precise source. While cholesterol in the body is one thing, we treat dietary cholesterol as something entirely different.
Dietary cholesterol is the same thing in animals as it is in humans, except it matters to us because of how we digest it when we eat animals. It is necessary to eat a sufficient level of cholesterol to maintain health. But too much of it can put you in danger.
So, what are the exact causes of high cholesterol?
What Causes High Cholesterol?
To understand high cholesterol, we need to fully comprehend the different types of cholesterol.
Cholesterol is continuously flowing through your body by way of your blood cells. In your arteries, cholesterol attaches itself to proteins in the blood and gets transported to where it needs to be. This combination of the two is referred to as a lipoprotein, and they are further broken up into two distinct types of cholesterol.
Low-Density Lipoprotein: The first one, low-density lipoprotein, also known as LDL, is the typically maligned form of cholesterol. This type of cholesterol can build up in your bloodstream, causing blockages and reducing sufficient blood flow.
High-Density Lipoprotein: The other type, high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, is known as the generally healthy one. This form of cholesterol can help reduce your levels of LDLs and take them back to your liver.
VLDL: Finally, diabetes increases the production of an even more dangerous form of cholesterol known as VLDL, which can cause even higher risks of developing high cholesterol.
Getting older, being a diabetic, or smoking are also other everyday things that can increase your risk of developing high cholesterol. Smoking damages your blood vessels, and age makes your body less efficient at cutting down the levels of bad cholesterol.
The precise risk factors of having high cholesterol are primarily due to a few things; diet and a lack of exercise.
If you eat a diet that is particularly high in saturated and trans fats, then you are likely to suffer from a higher than acceptable level of cholesterol. Furthermore, being obese or weighing more than you should, in general, will also put you at risk of developing high cholesterol.
Exercise is an incredibly important aspect of keeping down cholesterol, as exercise helps encourage the production and retention of HDL, the generally good cholesterol.
What Is the Primary Source of Cholesterol?
So, this is where a good deal of the confusion regarding cholesterol comes in. All of the cholesterol that you actually need in your body is created in the liver. Any extra cholesterol floating around comes from the food you eat, such as fatty foods.
This latter form of cholesterol is referred to as dietary cholesterol, and it is the main thing you need to watch out for.
So what can kind of exciting things can you do to try and reduce your cholesterol? Can you use CBD to try and reduce it?
Does CBD Lower Cholesterol?
CBD oil is one of those things that has been used to treat all kinds of different and exciting medical conditions. But cholesterol is easily one of the oldest problems considered by cannabinoid users. There is a substantial amount of evidence showing that CBD oil could help reduce cholesterol and overall improve your heart health.
Various studies, such as this one by Stanley et al. for the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, have found that CBD oil and cholesterol go together exceptionally well. That is, CBD is able to help improve your heart health and overall help treats high cholesterol.
Interestingly though, the answer to the question of ‘can CBD oil lower cholesterol?’ is, oddly enough, no. It isn’t that it can lower your cholesterol, but instead that it can help improve your heart health in general. This has the side effect of effectively lowering your cholesterol and improving your overall health.
But first, what kind of treatment options are available before considering CBD oil? How do doctors traditionally treat cholesterol with conventional medicine?
The two options for cholesterol treatment are either to attempt to try and remove excess LDL cholesterol through medication or to try and improve general heart health.
Different drugs perform these effects in different ways; it all depends on the severity of cholesterol and what level of risk your high cholesterol presents.
Considered the mandatory drug for everyone over the age of 50, statins are an effective way of controlling your cholesterol production. They substantially slow down the production of cholesterol in your liver. They also actually help your body to reabsorb any extra cholesterol that is hanging around in your body.
This means that it not only acts as an effective treatment option, but it can also partially reverse any severe heart afflictions you are suffering from.
The issue is that there are some side effects with taking statins, as well as just generally being annoying because you have to take them every single day.
Bile Acid Binding Resins
This treatment option is a bit of a tricky one because it seeks to lower cholesterol production indirectly. One of the primary uses of cholesterol is in making something called bile acids, which are needed to help encourage healthy digestion.
This group of medications, called bile acid-binding resins, bind themselves to bile acids in your body, tricking your liver into thinking you don’t have enough of them. This forces your liver to reroute excess cholesterol into trying to make them, forcing the cholesterol out of your blood and using it up.
This can, of course, induce digestion troubles, but that is far and away preferable compared to suffering from coronary heart disease.
Cholesterol Absorption Inhibitors
One of the main ways that dietary cholesterol enters your body is through the small intestine, where it absorbs plenty of it from your food. This group of drugs slows down the rate at which your small intestine can absorb cholesterol from your food.
The main benefit of these substances is that they are combined with other drugs, like statins, to attempt to try and create a combined effect. On their own, they don’t reverse anything. But merely act as a stopgap to limit the results for the future.
Injectable medications are a broad category, but fundamentally, they are focused on lowering the amount of cholesterol that is free in your blood.
These are ideally used for genetic conditions, such as those with diseases that create adverse levels of cholesterol. They effectively encourage your liver to absorb and remove more LDL than it would normally.
This requires frequent injections and continuous medical checkups to ensure they are working correctly, which can be a real pain.
But what about CBD oil? How could CBD oil help cholesterol?
CBD Oil and Cholesterol
CBD oil is a particularly interesting medical substance because it has effects throughout the body. This is due to how it impacts the endocannabinoid system.
The critical thing regarding how CBD oil can help cholesterol is the fact that cholesterol is, fundamentally, a fatty cell. CBD has been shown to not only help regulate all manner of different bodily functions but also how much cholesterol is maintained in the body.
You can use CBD oil as a surprisingly effective cholesterol treatment option, just by remembering to take a dose every day.
However, the primary way that CBD and cholesterol work together is due to CBD’s vascular relaxant properties. When you take CBD, it is able to help reduce your blood pressure by relaxing the arterial walls running throughout your body.
This happens because as a result of CBD’s interaction with the CB1 receptor and is a great way to help reduce excess cholesterol. As the arterial walls relax, your blood pressure is reduced, and your heart doesn’t work as hard to pump blood around the body.
Consequently, this helps ease and reduce the level and intensity of cholesterol blockages, as your body has more time to get rid of them.
Final Thoughts on CBD Oil and Cholesterol
When trying to answer the question of ‘can CBD oil lower cholesterol?’, the issue is that the answer isn’t quite as straightforward as you might have first thought.
CBD and cholesterol clearly have a well-established link to one another, but to outright say that CBD oil reduces cholesterol directly wouldn’t be entirely true. Instead, it is more the case that CBD oil can help to encourage the gradual lowering of your cholesterol levels. At the same time, it can help ease blood pressure and improve your overall health.
Both of these latter qualities are what make it so multipurpose and useful, as it is not only potentially effective as a treatment for cholesterol, but also for many other things.
The key thing to take away is that, while CBD can indeed help with excess cholesterol, it is not an emergency, completely fool proof curative. If you are suffering from serious cholesterol issues, the best thing you can do is go to your doctor and get it seen to.
How to Use CBD Oil for High Cholesterol
Elevated cholesterol is something many people will have to contend with during the course of their life.
So what is cholesterol and why is it so bad?
Cholesterol is a waxy type of substance that is either manufactured by your liver or derived from the food you eat. Not all cholesterol is bad. In fact, cholesterol is essential for survival as it is an important component of cell walls and plays a part in the absorption of certain vitamins. The problem comes in when you have too much cholesterol, especially the ‘bad’ LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol.
LDL cholesterol forms a kind of sticky sludge in your arteries that clings to the inside walls of the blood vessels. Just like food residue can clog up your drains and cause a blockage, so too can layers of waxy cholesterol in your arteries. As the cholesterol hardens, a segment of that hardened fat can break off and travel through your bloodstream to lodge in your brain, causing a stroke.
Managing High Cholesterol With CBD Oil
Most people don’t even know they have high cholesterol until told by a doctor that they are at risk. Once that happens, it’s vital to take steps immediately.
CBD has been tried for a wide variety of both common and uncommon conditions. You may be wondering whether CBD might improve your cholesterol profile and how or if it lowers high cholesterol. Read on to find out with our medically reviewed answers…
Benefits of Using CBD Oil for High Cholesterol
CBD has a great deal of therapeutic potential. An extract of the hemp plant, CBD has the ability to activate our body’s endocannabinoid receptors. These receptors are located in the brain, digestive system, muscles, and reproductive system of the body. This means that the effects of CBD are widespread across the body. The benefits that CBD can offer for a specific condition may also simply be supportive, improving the body’s overall health thereby improving the patient’s condition.
Here’s how CBD may benefit you if you suffer from high cholesterol:
Reduces Blood Pressure with Vascular Relaxation
One of the most useful effects of CBD oil in people with raised cholesterol is deep-tissue relaxation. CBD reduces stress, meaning that tight and tense parts of your body release. This release goes all the way down to your vascular system. Believe it or not, CBD helps your arterial walls to relax, reducing hardness and allowing the passages to broaden. Wider arterial passages mean less likelihood of a blockage. CBD has also been shown to reduce inflammation; decreased inflammation means less hardening of cholesterol plaques.
Another benefit of vascular relaxation is improved blood flow and lowered blood pressure. Elevated blood pressure is an added risk factor for people with high cholesterol because it also causes arterial wall damage and hardening, so lowering your blood pressure is good news.
When you have high cholesterol, it can help to cut excess stress from your life. This is because stress often leads to raised blood pressure and, as you learnt above, raised blood pressure and raised cholesterol together is like a double whammy to your system. Your doctor may tell you to take it easy, but the reality is that most of us are constantly stressing about something. CBD may help you let go of today’s worries and relax. With the right dosage, you may find it easier not to get worked up or upset when you face setbacks. If your doctor has prescribed some stress relief, CBD might be just what you’re looking for.
Reduces Unhealthy Appetite
CBD doesn’t increase your appetite. In fact, it may do the opposite. CBD alleviates internal pain and helps your stomach to relax so you can digest more comfortably. Because CBD improves your relationship with your stomach, you may find yourself eating less as you learn to understand your appetite more accurately.
Reduces Pain of Exercise
Getting healthy usually means getting fit, but exercise can hurt, especially for those not accustomed to the process. CBD has been called a miracle worker when it comes to removing muscle pain for athletic pursuits. From long walks to intensive weight lifting, CBD may help ease the pain in-the-moment and help prevent soreness in the future, allowing you to work on your cardio for that cardiac muscle.
The Effectiveness of CBD Oil for High Cholesterol
Now let’s talk about the direct effectiveness of using CBD for cholesterol. It’s important to remember here that because CBD is a natural compound, it can affect each person differently.
Who Should Use CBD Oil
Should you try CBD oil? CBD oil is safe and beneficial for most people, but there are some who should avoid CBD for medical reasons. This usually relates to pre-existing illnesses and medical conditions. If you are an otherwise healthy person with high cholesterol, CBD is a great treatment option to try. If you are in any doubt about the safety of CBD, discuss it with your family doctor before trying it out..
How CBD Interacts with Cholesterol Medication
CBD is known to interact with only a few medications, mostly involving how enzymes are broken up in the body.
Certain cholesterol medications in the statin class are metabolised via the cytochrome P-450 pathway in the liver. CBD can act as an inhibitor of this pathway, so if you are on a statin, it’s important to discuss going onto CBD with your healthcare provider. There are two statins which do not depend on the cytochrome P-450 pathway for metabolism, so if you do want to try out the benefits of CBD, your healthcare provider may suggest that you change to one of these medications.
Side Effects of CBD
Common side effects of CBD include low blood pressure (good for you, in the case of high cholesterol), lightheadedness, dry mouth, and drowsiness. These side effects are not specific to the use of CBD in the management of high cholesterol. It’s important to note that CBD does not give you the “munchies” (because it doesn’t contain THC) so your meal plan is safe!
Hemp Seed Oil vs CBD Oil for Cholesterol
For the sake of clarification, hemp seed oil and CBD oil are not the same thing, despite them both being beneficial in the management of high cholesterol. CBD is good for your cholesterol because it relaxes the arterial walls and reduces stress and pain. Hemp seed oil, pressed from seeds, does not have pain relief or relaxing qualities, but it is full of Omega 3 and 6 fats that will help clear any clogged arteries.
How to Use CBD Oil for High Cholesterol
Finally, let’s touch briefly on what CBD oil products to try and how to use CBD carefully as part of your cholesterol treatment plan. We advise that you keep track of your blood pressure daily with a simple home blood pressure monitor to discover if your CBD use is having any clear beneficial effect. It may also be worth taking a cholesterol level reading (lipogram) prior to starting CBD and then again after three months of sustained CBD use to see if your cholesterol levels are dropping.
Dosage of CBD for Cholesterol
Always approach dosage carefully. The key is to start low and slow. Give your initial starting dose adequate time to have an effect before methodically increasing your dosage and rate of administration over time until satisfactory results emerge.
The CBD Oil Review Serving Standard is 25mg of CBD taken twice daily. If this does not produce the results you are after, increase your dose by 25mg every 3-4 weeks until you find the relief you are looking for. For more information on CBD oil dosing, read our guide here.
Ways to Take CBD Oil for Cholesterol
CBD Tinctures- CBD tinctures are oil drops placed under the tongue. In this delivery method, CBD oil is absorbed through your mucous membranes and takes effect quickly.
CBD Capsules- CBD capsules consist of a pocket of CBD oil wrapped in a gel cover. They are very much like gel-type vitamins and are ingested, taking somewhat longer to kick in as they move through the digestive system.
CBD Edibles- CBD edibles are made when CBD oil is mixed or cooked into food, like gummies or chocolate (sugar-free of course!). You can buy pre-made edibles or buy kitchen-ready CBD oil to make your own. Onset of action is longer as they need to pass through your digestive system before being absorbed into the bloodstream.
CBD Topicals- Topicals are creams, balms, and roll-on ointments made with CBD. This method is more useful for topical conditions, but is still a valid way to get CBD into your system.
High cholesterol is a lifelong battle for some people, but you don’t have to fight it alone. With the help of CBD and the support of your doctor, you can start to knock down that stress and relax your arteries for long-term cardiovascular health.