Can CBD Oil Lower Cholesterol Levels? [Exploring the FACTS]
According to the CDC, about 37% of Americans are living with elevated cholesterol ; a condition that potentially doubles the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Worryingly, only 55% of adults who need medicine to treat this issue are using it. The problem with detecting high cholesterol is that it’s symptomless; you could have the condition without even realizing it.
If a doctor diagnoses you with high cholesterol, it’s likely they will recommend a medication known as a statin. Statins can help lower the risk of things like heart attack and stroke by over 30%.
However, there are a list of adverse side effects that come along with most prescription statins. For example, patients with high cholesterol that take statins may experience migraines, trouble sleeping, drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, and gastrointestinal issues, just to name a few. Statins can also increase the likelihood of developing neuropathy, loss of memory, and even type-2 diabetes.
CBD oil for lowering cholesterol; is there any merit to the discussion?
Given the popularity of CBD oil in recent years, the discussion of using CBD oil to lower cholesterol has been brought up. But is there any clinical proof of CBD having an effect on cholesterol levels?
In this article, we look at what cholesterol is and why you’re likely to have high cholesterol. We’ll also examine various problems associated with statins, and discuss relevant scientific research relating to cannabis, CBD, and cholesterol levels.
What Is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a lipid found in your body’s cells. Though it generally has a negative connotation given its link to heart disease, cholesterol is actually essential and serves many important functions. It influences the creation of hormones, the synthesis of vitamin D, and helps to digest food correctly.
Cholesterol categorizes into two types: Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDL, aka ‘bad’ cholesterol), and High-Density Lipoproteins (HDL, aka ‘good’ cholesterol).
HDL helps remove LDL deposits and limits the buildup of plaque that leads to things like heart attack and stroke. If LDL levels are too high, plaque accumulation inside blood vessels can cause arteries to harden and become narrower. Plaque buildup can cause arteries to become fully blocked. A blocked artery prevents blood from reaching vital organs and tissues. The result is a heart attack or stroke.
What Causes High Cholesterol?
Typically, your cholesterol level increases with age. There are a number of lifestyle choices that contribute to increased LDL cholesterol levels, such as smoking, being overweight, and eating too many saturated fats. Dietary culprits that typically lead to high cholesterol are dairy items, processed foods, and fatty red meats. A lack of physical activity can also negatively impact cholesterol levels. This is why many health experts suggest a minimum of 20 minutes of physical activity a day.
The Problem with Statins
The first thing any person with high cholesterol levels might want to do is take a long, hard look at their lifestyle. They may want to incorporate fish, lean meats, low-fat products, fruit, vegetables, and whole grains into their diet. As for smokers, most any health professional would recommend quitting in order to lower excessive cholesterol levels.
In terms of medication for lowering cholesterol, it is common for physicians to prescribe statins. Statins inhibit an enzyme that the liver needs to produce LDL cholesterol. They also slightly increase HDL levels, which can move ‘bad’ cholesterol from the arteries to the liver.
Millions of Americans are currently using statins, and health experts suggest that millions more need to be using them. For example, the American College of Cardiology issued a set of recommendations for statins suggesting over 26 million Americans should be using them.
There’s a problem with these recommendations…
According to these numbers, at least one-third of people aged 40-75 with no history of cardiovascular problems should be on statin medication. Since statistics on the effectiveness of statins vary, however, Dr. Rita Redberg of the University of California in San Francisco suggests using cholesterol calculating tools – like the Framingham Calculator – to estimate personal cardiovascular risk.
Also, a realistic concern with statin use is the range of adverse side effects that they produce. Statins can cause things like liver damage and rhabdomyolysis – a condition that damages muscle cells. Further concerns include an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, increased blood sugar, and memory problems. That’s a lot of risk for a drug that may not help you in the long run.
Is CBD a Better Alternative for Lowering Cholesterol?
To put it bluntly, there is no clinical evidence on the use of CBD to lower cholesterol levels. No one should suggest or recommend that CBD can function in place of statins, or even in place of a lifestyle change.
That said, one study does discuss a potential relationship between cannabidiol use and “cholesterol metabolism-related genes.” The study , which appears in a 2011 edition of Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, suggests that “CBD treatment modulates cholesterol homeostasis in microglial cells.”
Does this mean you can use CBD to help lower your cholesterol?
Not quite. While the findings of this particular study are intriguing, the results have no clinical bearing on the use of CBD for cholesterol level management.
A separate 2017 study in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research also discusses the effect of CBD use on cholesterol. The study claims that CBD “increased cholesterol levels in WT [wild-type] mice, but not in CBD-treated transgenic [laboratory-bred] mice.” Researchers state that the lack of effect on cholesterol in the transgenic mice was likely due to “already-elevated cholesterol [levels] in the transgenic mice.”
Interestingly, later in the study researchers discuss the potential benefits of cannabidiol on hyperglycemia. In obese mice, it was observed that a four-week CBD treatment of 3 mg per kg of body weight “increased HDL-C concentration by 55% and reduced total cholesterol levels by more than 25%.”
Again, although this research is very interesting, it has no bearing on the practical use of CBD oil for lowering cholesterol levels. While there may indeed be a physiological relationship between the two, more research is needed.
Final Thoughts on CBD Oil for Reducing LDL Cholesterol
All in all, there is no explicit clinical evidence that CBD oil (or any other CBD product) can help reduce cholesterol levels. Many full-spectrum CBD oils contain healthy omega acids, which may help reduce the likelihood of cardiovascular disease. Again, however, this does not denote that CBD has any specific relationship with blood cholesterol levels.
Remember, however, that research into CBD is still very much in its infancy. There may be additional physiological properties of CBD that relate to cardiovascular health, but for now, little is known on the topic. As research improves, we are likely to witness some exciting discoveries in the future.
In this article, we look at what cholesterol is, the problems associated with statins, and research which on CBD for high cholesterol.
CBD Effects on Cholesterol: Can CBD Lower Cholesterol Levels?
Posted on September 6th, 2020
High cholesterol is a common health issue that affects many individuals. Many people actually view the onset of high cholesterol as a natural part of aging. Meanwhile , doctors from all around the world actively push medications meant to lower the level of cholesterol in your body. However, the idea of natural remedies to help high cholesterol has gained interest over the years. In fact, many people are now wondering if the potential health benefits of CBD oil with exercise and diet can help lower their cholesterol levels in a natural way. But can the effects of CBD really impact cholesterol? Read on to learn more about what cholesterol is and how CBD might affect it.
What Is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is often seen as a substance that could ruin your health, regardless of how much you have. However, cholesterol is actually a natural part of a healthy human body. Even the healthiest person has cholesterol. It’s a key component of cells and without it, survival would be impossible. Cholesterol is used to make various types of molecules in your body, such as your hormones. It actually exists in all cells and allows them to function properly.
Although the precise definition of cholesterol might seem confusing to understand, its actual function is much simpler to grasp. Essentially, cholesterol is needed for the production of essential components in your body to stay healthy. Moreover, it helps with the regulation of membrane fluidity in different temperatures. This is vital for healthy cellular growth and maintenance.
Things get a bit more confusing when it comes to dietary cholesterol. The dietary cholesterol in humans is the same as with animals. If you eat too much cholesterol (usually from animal products), you risk increasing your cholesterol levels to dangerous amounts.
What Are the Different Types of Cholesterol?
Before we get into the details, it’s important to understand the different kinds of cholesterol. Keep in mind that cholesterol is always flowing through your body continuously through your blood cells. In the arteries, it attaches to proteins in the blood and gets transported wherever it’s needed. This combination is commonly referred to as lipoprotein, which can be further broken down into two main types of cholesterol.
Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL)
This is usually the maligned form of cholesterol. It can build up in the bloodstream, which could lead to blockages and even reduce blood flow.
High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL)
This is generally known as the healthy form of cholesterol, which can actually help to lower your levels of LDLs and take them back to your liver.
This is an even more dangerous form of cholesterol usually caused by diabetes. It creates an even higher risk of developing high cholesterol in the body.
Factors such as being a diabetic, getting older, and smoking could all increase your risk of developing high cholesterol. Age makes your body less efficient at cutting down cholesterol levels while smoking damages your blood vessels. However, the precise risk factors of having high cholesterol are primarily due to two key things: diet and lack of exercise.
Some Worrying Facts About Cholesterol
Based on data from the CDC, about 38% of Americans are living with high cholesterol , which is a condition that potentially doubles the risk of developing different cardiovascular diseases. Even perhaps more worrying, only 55% of adults who need medicine as treatment for this condition are using it. One key problem with diagnosing or detecting high cholesterol is that it’s virtually symptomless – you could have the condition without even realizing it.
When a doctor diagnoses you with elevated cholesterol levels, they will likely recommend medication referred to as a statin. Statins may be able to lower the risk of developing conditions like stroke and heart attack by over 30% .
However, most prescription statins come with adverse side effects. For instance, patients with elevated cholesterol levels may experience migraines, dizziness, drowsiness, trouble sleeping, gastrointestinal issues, nausea, and more when they take statin medications. Statins also increase the risk of developing a loss of memory, neuropathy, and type-2 diabetes.
The Problem With Statins
The first thing that a person struggling with high cholesterol will want to do first is to evaluate their lifestyle. They may want to consider including lean meats, fish, fruit, low-fat products, vegetables, and whole grains into their diet. And for smokers, health professionals would recommend quitting smoking altogether to help lower excess cholesterol levels.
As mentioned earlier, statins are the most commonly prescribed medication for lowering cholesterol. Statins work by inhibiting an enzyme that the liver usually needs to produce LDL cholesterol. They can also increase HDL levels slightly, which could help move “bad” cholesterol from the arteries to the liver.
Currently, there are millions of Americans on statins prescription. What’s more, many health experts suggest that millions more need to be on them. For instance, the American College of Cardiology recently issued a set of recommendations for statin, essentially suggesting that over 26 million Americans should be using them .
The problem with these recommendations is that according to these numbers, at least a third of people between the age of 40 and 75 with no prior history of cardiovascular problems should be on statin medication. However, statistics on the effectiveness of statins on cholesterol levels vary, and some experts suggest using cholesterol calculating tools such as the Framingham Calculator to help with estimating personal cardiovascular risks.
Another realistic concern with the use of statin is the wide range of adverse side effects that they tend to produce. Statins are known to cause things like rhabdomyolysis (a disorder that causes damage to muscle cells) and liver damage. Additional concerns include a higher risk of developing memory problems, type 2 diabetes, and blood sugar. This is a lot of risk for a drug that might not be helpful in the long run.
CBD and Cholesterol
Considering the popularity of CBD in recent years, it’s potential for lowering high cholesterol often comes up. Some research and anecdotal evidence have demonstrated that CBD does have some potential health benefits, though research is still in its early stages.
However, over the counter CBD products are currently not regulated by the FDA. The only condition CBD has been approved to treat is a rare form of epilepsy, and that is with the CBD based medication Epidiolex. So, is there any research that suggests that CBD has an effect on cholesterol levels?
What Does Research Say About CBD Effects on Cholesterol?
Cannabidiol is one of the products that has been looked at for its potential to help many different medical conditions. Cholesterol is one of the oldest problems that are considered by cannabinoid users. And some research suggests that CBD oil could be helpful in reducing cholesterol and help improve your overall cardiovascular health.
Various studies suggest that CBD and cholesterol may go together exceptionally well. According to one study, CBD may help to improve cardiovascular health , which in turn may help improve high cholesterol levels.
However, this study focuses on CBD in relation to cardiovascular health. Currently, there is no clinical evidence that shows the use of CBD could lower cholesterol levels. As such, we do not recommend or suggest that CBD should or can function in place of statins, or in place of a lifestyle change.
With that in mind, while CBD might not directly lower your cholesterol, it could help improve your cardiovascular health in general. The side effect of this may be impacting your cholesterol and improving your overall health.
Another study discusses the potential relationship between the use of cannabidiol and cholesterol metabolism-related genes. The study was published in the 2011 edition of Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology and suggested that CBD use may help modulate cholesterol homeostasis in microglial cells . However, while these findings are intriguing, the results have no clinical bearings on the use of CBD for managing cholesterol levels.
In a separate study conducted in 2017 and published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, the effect of using CBD for cholesterol is discussed. The study showed that CBD increased the levels of cholesterol in wild-type mice, but not in CBD treated laboratory-bred (transgenic) mice. According to the study, the lack of an effect on cholesterol in the transgenic mice was probably due to the already higher levels of cholesterol in transgenic mice.
Still, while the findings are quite interesting, the study has no bearing on the practical use of CBD in helping lower CBD levels in humans. Although there might be a physiological link between the two, more research is needed.
There’s no conclusive clinical evidence that the effects of CBD can help lower cholesterol levels. Many full-spectrum CBD oils contain healthy omega acids. And they could help lower your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. However, this doesn’t show that CBD has a definite connection with cholesterol levels.
Keep in mind that research on CBD is still in its infancy. There might be extra physiological characteristics of CBD related to cholesterol and the cardiovascular system, but as of now, not much is known about the topic. As research on CBD improves, we’ll likely see some exciting developments in the future.
There might be extra physiological characteristics and effects of CBD related to cholesterol, but as of now, not much is known about the topic.