*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 CBD produces many effects that may benefit people with high cholesterol levels. Read on to know more about the effects of CBD on cholesterol. Does cannabis affect cholesterol levels for better or worse? We take a look at the current research on this complex subject matter.
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.
CBD For High Cholesterol: Can Hemp Oil Lower Your Cholesterol Levels?
High cholesterol levels (also called hypercholesterolemia) increase your risk of developing chronic medical diseases. Fatty deposits accumulate in your blood vessels, causing problems such as hypertension, diabetes, and atherosclerosis, etc. If left untreated, these may result in stroke and heart attack.
Studies suggest that CBD may help control high cholesterol levels. It also has properties that reduce health risks associated with this medical problem.
This article talks about CBD and cholesterol, how CBD affects hypercholesterolemia, and how to use CBD for this health concern.
What is Cholesterol?
The liver naturally produces cholesterol, and we can also get these fat-like compounds from the foods we eat like dairy products and meat.
We need cholesterol to function properly. Our cells use them to make other substances like vitamins and hormones. Cholesterol also helps maintain the integrity of the cell’s membrane.
For a healthy cholesterol level though, there should be a good balance between the good cholesterol or high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and the bad cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein (LDL).
The good cholesterol removes excess cholesterol from the body, while the bad cholesterol transports excess cholesterol to other parts of the body.
Unfortunately, factors like lifestyle choices, health problems, medications, or even stress can easily disrupt their balance, resulting in an increased bad cholesterol level. The bad cholesterol accumulates inside the blood vessels and causes them to harden and become narrower.
What are the Effects of High Bad Cholesterol Levels?
Hypercholesterolemia is a condition where there’s an unhealthy level of serum total cholesterol (more than 200 mg/dl). The causes may either be genetics or acquired (eating high-cholesterol food and a sedentary lifestyle, for example). High cholesterol levels may also be worsened by medications and chronic medical illnesses like chronic kidney disease and diabetic diseases.
Symptoms of hypercholesterolemia include chest pain, shortness of breath, feeling tired all the time, etc., but the diagnosis will only be confirmed by doing a blood test.
If left untreated, your high cholesterol levels can not only worsen your medical problems but cause them as well. People with hypercholesterolemia have a higher risk of developing stroke, heart attack, diabetes, and other chronic diseases
How Is Hypercholesterolemia Treated?
A conservative approach may help reduce cholesterol levels. These include:
- Better diet choices (less fat, salt, and sugar content and more fruits and leafy vegetables)
- Smoking cessation
- Going on a regular exercise program (at least 30 minutes per day for five days)
- Losing weight if you’re overweight
- Getting a good, restful sleep
- Managing your stress
If these can’t control your high cholesterol levels, then your doctor may prescribe the following medications:
- Cholesterol absorption inhibitors like ezetimibe
- Statins like lovastatin and simvastatin
- Bile acid sequestrants like colestipol
- Fibrates like Lopid
- Bempedoic acid
- Antihypertensive and antidiabetic drugs may also be prescribed if you’re diagnosed with hypertension and diabetes.
While these medications help reduce high cholesterol levels, they also produce side effects like:
- Abdominal cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Muscle pain or soreness
- Problems with short-term memory
Long-term side effects of these drugs may also increase your risk of developing diabetes mellitus type 2 and liver damage.
Recent years have seen tremendous growth in the CBD market. We use CBD not only to maintain a healthy body and mind but to control symptoms as well. CBD also produces beneficial effects that may help lower cholesterol levels and improve its associated health risks.
Before we discuss the effects of CBD on hypercholesterolemia, let’s first go over the role of the endocannabinoid system in controlling cholesterol.
The Role of the Endocannabinoid System in the Management of Cholesterol Levels
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a biological system that plays an important protective role in our body. It helps maintain balance by regulating many physiological functions such as pain, inflammation, memory, fear, sleep, pleasure, mood, emotions, appetite, hunger, and even metabolism, etc.
The ECS is made up of three components:
- The endogenous cannabinoids that activate the cannabinoid receptors
- The cannabinoid receptors type 1 and 2 (CB1R and CB2R)
- The enzymes that break down the endogenous cannabinoids
The CB1R is abundant in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) as well as in the peripheral tissues. The CB2R, on the other hand, is mostly located on the immune cells.
Under normal healthy conditions, the ECS helps modulate our physiological functions and responses to stimuli, resulting in symptom control. Its activation also results in reduced inflammation.
However, chronic medical problems like high cholesterol levels, hypertension, and diabetes damage the ECS, resulting in its dysregulation . Instead of maintaining balance, ECS dysregulation contributes to the worsening of health problems, including high cholesterol levels.
In hypercholesterolemia, cholesterol buildup damages the blood vessel walls. It also sets off an inflammatory response that attracts more immune cells to the site. The more immune cells that go to the damaged blood vessel, the narrower the blood vessel becomes as more debris accumulates. If a chunk breaks off, it could travel to other parts of the body as a blood clot and cause a stroke or congestive heart failure .
How Does CBD Benefit People with High Cholesterol Levels?
Cannabidiol or CBD is just one of over a hundred types of cannabinoids. A non-psychoactive compound, CBD doesn’t bind very well to the CB1R but can directly activate the CB2R. CBD can also stimulate other receptors that help reduce high cholesterol levels and associated risks.
Reduces Blood Sugar Levels
Insulin resistance links high blood sugar levels with high cholesterol levels. The cells become less sensitive and responsive to insulin (the hormone that carries glucose into the cell for energy conversion), resulting in the accumulation of sugar in the blood and changes in cholesterol levels. The good cholesterol level decreases, allowing the bad cholesterol and triglycerides (fat) to build up and cause fatty deposits or plaques along the blood vessel wall. High cholesterol levels also contribute to the development of diabetes .
A study published in the Diabetes Care Journal notes that CBD decreases resistin levels. Resistin is a compound produced by fat cells and immune cells. It increases insulin resistance and cellular inflammation. This shows that CBD can help lower insulin resistance levels which gives its potential to relieve and lessen the symptoms of diabetes. CBD also increases gastric inhibitory polypeptide (GIP) levels. GIP is a compound that stimulates the pancreas to produce and secrete insulin .
Reduces Inflammation of the Blood Vessel Walls
Fatty plaques cause narrowing and hardening of the blood vessel walls, resulting in injury. The presence of these small injuries attracts immune cells to the site. As they flock to the site, they also get trapped by the fatty plaques. Instead of helping the blood vessel walls heal, the immune cells contribute more to the damage, further weakening the walls .
As the plaque grows, it increases the risk of blood clot formations. These can block the blood vessel or get dislodged and travel to other parts of the body, causing a heart attack or a stroke.
When CBD binds to the CB2R, it produces a powerful anti-inflammatory effect. CBD triggers the cell death of these abnormal immune cells, preventing them from sending signals that attract more immune cells to the site. Additionally, CBD also protects the blood vessels from the damages caused by high sugar levels, which make immune cells adhere more to the plaques .
Reduces High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure or hypertension occurs when the pressure of blood against the blood vessel wall becomes higher than normal (greater than 120/80 mmHg). Many factors cause hypertension, including high salt, sugar, and cholesterol levels. These get deposited along the walls of the blood vessels, causing them to harden and become narrower. Hard and narrow blood vessels make it difficult for blood to flow freely, increasing the blood pressure against the walls .
A study published in the Journal of Hypertension shows that CBD dilates the blood vessel walls. It effectively reduced high blood pressure in patients dealing with hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and overweight. The same study also found that CBD reduces hypertension caused by stress .
You may not know this but stress (especially chronic stress) affects your cholesterol level. Stress causes your cells to release excitatory chemicals like cortisol and adrenaline. These chemicals increase your fasting blood sugar level and affect your normal cholesterol level .
CBD helps decrease stress by acting on the serotonin receptor. This receptor helps control your reaction to stress. This CBD effect also relieves anxiety and depression, both of which contribute to chronic stress .
Reduces Appetite and Weight
Being overweight increases your risk of developing high cholesterol levels, diabetes, and hypertension. It also makes you more vulnerable to heart attacks, stroke, and respiratory problems .
Studies suggest that CBD may be an effective agent for weight loss. Compared to THC which binds well to the CB1R, CBD acts more like an antagonist to this receptor. It stimulates the receptor’s allosteric site, a site different from the receptor’s active site which THC binds to. Instead of increasing appetite as THC does, CBD suppresses appetite and weakens food cravings .
Reduces Nicotine Consumption
Nicotine alters your normal cholesterol levels. It decreases the levels of your good cholesterol and increases your bad cholesterol levels. Nicotine also constricts the blood vessel walls, contributes to fatty plaque development, and thickens the blood .
CBD may help with nicotine addiction. It can dampen your cravings for nicotine, and it can also help reduce symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. According to one randomized controlled trial, CBD helped reduce tobacco consumption by about 40% .
Is CBD Safe?
The World Health Organization states that CBD has a relatively good safety profile . Not only is it non-psychoactive but non-toxic and non-addictive as well.
There may be some minor side effects such as eye and mouth dryness, change in bowel movements, drowsiness, and even fatigue, but these are usually well-tolerated by CBD users. These side effects also disappear once the body gets used to CBD.
Where to Buy CBD?
You can buy hemp-derived CBD products in health stores, dispensaries, and online CBD shops. There’s no age limit to buy hemp-derived CBD, nor are there any possession restrictions. You also don’t need to obtain a doctor’s recommendation to buy hemp-derived CBD.
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the use of industrial hemp and all its parts, provided its THC level doesn’t exceed 0.3% . This includes not just its flowers, leaves, stems, seeds but its cannabinoids, derivatives, extracts, acids, isomers, etc. as well.
As for marijuana-derived CBD products, these are only available in states that legalized medical cannabis. Marijuana (any cannabis plant that has more than 0.3% THC) remains illegal on a federal level.
Before buying CBD, always check your state’s cannabis laws.
What are the Factors to Look for When Buying CBD?
CBD’s popularity made it easier for us to buy CBD products. You’ll find different CBD brands with varying potencies and flavors.
Because CBD has now become a part of many people’s health routines, its popularity has also made us more vulnerable to scammers offering substandard products.
To avoid mistakes when buying CBD oil products, be mindful of these factors.
Types of CBD
There are three types of CBD:
- CBD isolate which contains only pure CBD
- Broad-spectrum CBD oil which has CBD, other cannabinoids, and terpenes
- Full-spectrum CBD oil which has CBD, other cannabinoids, terpenes, and THC
All are great products, but if you’re after a more potent effect, choose full-spectrum CBD oil. The addition of THC makes the product stronger since THC amplifies the beneficial effects of the other cannabinoids and terpenes.
Forms of CBD
The most common forms of CBD include:
- Sublingual CBD (oils and tinctures)
- Inhalable CBD (flowers, concentrates, and vapes)
- Edibles (brownies, chocolate, candies, gummies)
- Topicals (lotions, creams, balms, ointments)
Sublingual, inhalable, topical, and suppository CBD products offer fast onset of effects (less than 30 minutes). CBD is quickly absorbed by the cells and goes directly into the bloodstream.
The effects of edibles, on the other hand, may take some time (about 30 minutes to 1.5 hours) since CBD passes through the digestive organs and the liver. However, its effects last longer since CBD stays in the system for a longer period.
Choose CBD sourced from organically grown hemp and extracted using a safe and clean method like the supercritical CO2 extraction process. These reduce the risk of contamination caused by artificial pesticides and pathogenic microbes.
Again, check your state’s cannabis laws before buying marijuana-derived CBD.
Laboratory Test Results
Stay away from CBD products that don’t have any certificate of analysis. Legitimate CBD producers send product samples to certified third parties for testing. These laboratory tests check for the presence of residual solvents, heavy metals, toxic residues, harmful pesticides, pathogens (bacteria and fungus), etc.
These tests also make sure that the products contain their stated potency by checking their cannabinoid profile and levels.
You’ll know you have a good CBD product by the number of positive reviews it received. These reviews help you get a good idea of the product’s effects (and side effects, if any).
How Do You Find the Best CBD Dose?
The best doses for:
- General health and mild symptoms – use low-strength CBD or 1 mg of CBD for every 10 pounds of your body weight
- Moderate symptoms – use medium-strength CBD or 3 mg of CBD for every 10 pounds of your body weight
- Severe symptoms – use high-strength CBD or 6 mg of CBD for every 10 pounds of your body weight
For example, you bought 1500 mg of CBD in a 30 mL bottle. First, divide 1500 by 30. This gives you about 50 mg of CBD per one full dropper. Because one dropper has about 20 drops, then one drop gives you about 2.5 mg of CBD.
Let’s say you weigh 150 pounds and want to use it for moderate symptoms, then divide 150 by 10, giving you 15. Multiply 15 by 3, and this gives you 45. This means you need 45 mg of CBD or 18 drops for your moderate symptoms.
You can also lower your starting dose to avoid side effects. Just listen to how your body responds to CBD and adjust the dose accordingly.
If side effects occur, then lower the dose. If there’s no improvement even after three to five days, you can increase it a little bit. Using the low-and-slow pattern, you’ll soon find a dose that works for your health problems.
Don’t just rely on CBD to help lower your high cholesterol levels. Going on a healthy diet and exercise program as well as smoking cessation help a lot in managing your abnormal cholesterol levels.
Final Thoughts — Can CBD Help with Your High Cholesterol Levels?
Can you take CBD for your high cholesterol levels?
Yes, CBD has many properties that may help reduce your cholesterol levels. It helps improve several factors that increase your bad cholesterol levels like blood sugar, stress, appetite, weight, and nicotine. At the same time, CBD also helps reduce risks associated with high cholesterol levels like hypertension, diabetes, stroke, etc.
CBD is safe and can be added to your daily health regimen. If you’re going to use CBD for high cholesterol levels, we recommend seeing your primary care physician. Your doctor can help you come up with a good CBD plan for your medical problems.
Do you use CBD for cholesterol problems? How has it helped you so far? Let us know in the comment section below.
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Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.
Does Cannabis Affect Your Cholesterol?
All information on this website is for general informational purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
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.