High cholesterol level is a major cause of heart diseases. It is surprising to know that over one-third of Americans reportedly have high cholesterol levels in their bloodstream.
Traditional physicians are suggesting different medications to lower cholesterol levels. However, there are many natural ways also to reduce the menace. Improving lifestyle and using natural substances are some of these methods to reduce or even prevent a rise in cholesterol levels.
CBD oil is one such natural compound that has shown a reasonable potential to reduce cholesterol levels. Before understanding the connection between CBD and cholesterol, let us first understand some basic facts about cholesterol.
What is Cholesterol?
With so much negativity attached to Cholesterol, it has almost been forgotten that Cholesterol is an essential and one of the most vital components of our physiology. It affects many of the important body functions including digestion of food, production of hormones, Vitamin D, and so on.
The body itself produces cholesterol in the liver to perform these essential physiological functions. In fact, lower cholesterol levels can also affect many important body functions.
You might have heard about two types of cholesterols: bad cholesterol and good cholesterol.
What are Good and Bad Cholesterols?
Well, let us understand it in a simple way.
- Our liver produces cholesterol.
- The cholesterol flows through our blood cells in our body.
- In the arteries, the cholesterol binds with the blood proteins.
- This binding of cholesterol and the blood protein produces Lipoprotein.
- Lipoprotein is transported in different parts of the body, as needed.
- Depending on the density, these Lipoproteins are primarily classified as Low-Density Lipoprotein and High-Density Lipoprotein, popularly known as LDL and HDL, and commonly referred to as ‘Bad’ and ‘Good’ cholesterol respectively.
Why are these Cholesterols called Good and Bad?
They are called so as per their effects on the human body.
- Bad cholesterol has the tendency of getting accumulated in our bloodstream. This can cause clogging or blockages thereby restricting the flow of blood in the bloodstream. It has a risk of developing heart diseases. Hence it is called bad cholesterol.
- The good one is really a good one! Not only does it help promote good health by contributing favorably in performing various physiological functions but also removes bad cholesterol from the bloodstream.
- Other than these two more popular Lipoproteins, there is one more type, which is even worse than the bad cholesterol. And this is called the VLDL or Very Low-Density Lipoprotein and is more harmful than LDL.
How does Bad Cholesterol remain in the Blood?
Now, the obvious question that comes in our mind is that if HDL is continuously removing LDL, how does it still remain in the bloodstream?
It has two obvious reasons:
- Excess production and
- Less efficient removal
The human body produces cholesterol to perform various functions by synthesizing the food we eat. There are certain types of food that have high saturated fats and trans like red meat and dairy products that lead to high LDL.
The higher level of LDL requires more effort to remove it from the bloodstream. When the body system cannot remove it from the blood, it eventually leads to its accumulation in the bloodstream.
Less efficient removal
The efficiency of the physiological function plays an important role in discarding bad cholesterol from the bloodstream and subsequently from the body. This efficiency of removing LDL depends on several factors.
Lack of physical work
When we subject our body to hard work it enhances our efficiency of performing internal physiological functions including increasing the production of HDL and removing bad cholesterol. Lack of enough physical work or exercise can significantly reduce HDL levels and, in turn, lead to the accumulation of LDL.
Stress and anxiety
Stress can lead to high cholesterol levels due to many reasons, including:
- The trio of the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and the adrenal gland, known as the HPA axis, release cortisol hormones in response to stress. The right level of cortisol helps the body to respond effectively to a stressful situation. However, its higher level can lead to high cholesterol levels.
- Moreover, adrenaline released during stressful situations prompts the fight or flight mechanism in the body. This, in turn, triggers the release of triglycerides and, in turn, increases bad cholesterol.
- Further, during high-stress conditions, you tend to take more food-intake and have higher body weight which has a direct relation to the bad cholesterol levels.
- As we get older, our body loses its efficiency in performing various physiological functions.
- Some medical conditions like diabetes also affect the efficiency of removing bad cholesterol from the bloodstream and thus have an increased risk of developing disorders related to LDL.
- Smoking causes damage to the blood vessels and thus contributes to increasing the accumulation of LDL in the bloodstream.
What are the Traditional Treatments for Cholesterol and what are their Side Effects?
The traditional medications try to either reduce cholesterol entering into your bloodstream or remove excess LDL from the circulatory system. However, all these different methods come with their side-effects.
It is one of the most popular treatments for high cholesterol. Statins help in reducing the production of cholesterol in our liver. Besides, they also help in the resorption of excess cholesterol in our body.
However, it causes many different side effects including headache, sleep disorders, dizziness, poor digestion, and so on. Moreover, once you start taking the medication, you need to consume it every day without a gap. This may be quite irritating for many.
Using excess cholesterol for other body functions
It is an indirect way of reducing the level of cholesterol by restricting it to enter your bloodstream.
Producing bile acid to improve digestion is also one of the basic functions of cholesterol. So, using excess cholesterol in making bile acid will reduce its amount entering the bloodstream and lower cholesterol levels in the circulatory system.
This type of medication uses acid-binding resins to deliberately send wrong signals to the liver about the lack of bile acid in your body. So, the liver supplies excess cholesterol to the bile by taking it out of the blood.
However, this line of treatment has an obvious side-effect of the excess quantity of bile acid than required. Thus, it leads to digestive problems.
Reducing cholesterol absorption
The small intestine absorbs a lot of cholesterol from your food-intake and transfers it to your body. Therefore, slowing down the rate of absorption by the intestine from your food can significantly reduce cholesterol levels in your blood.
One group of medications called the Cholesterol Absorption Inhibitors (CAI); perform precisely this function of reducing the ICAR (Intestinal Cholesterol Absorption Rate) of the intestine.
This type of medication is not the main-stream medication for high cholesterol as it does not offer any benefits if taken alone. Rather it is used in combination with other medications.
Combating high-cholesterol caused by other diseases
There are a few genetic conditions that trigger abnormal levels of cholesterol in the blood. Injectable medications are used in treating these kinds of cholesterol disorders. They primarily stimulate the liver to absorb and discard more LDL.
This treatment requires injecting the medicine quite frequently making it a very painful method. Besides, it requires very close monitoring to observe the effects of the medication.
How does CBD Oil help in high cholesterol problems?
Now the big question, after understanding the basics of cholesterol, is how CBD oil helps in reducing bad cholesterol. CBD can help treat high cholesterol problems directly or indirectly.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) of the human body produces natural cannabinoids. The ECS also comprises numerous cannabinoid receptors. Through these receptors, natural cannabinoids influence many physiological functions including, appetite, memory, blood pressure, motor function, as so on.
When you consume CBD externally, it also binds with these receptors and controls the homeostasis of the body. It, in turn, helps in balancing different body functions. The balance caused by the intake of CBD helps in removing the cholesterol from the bloodstream allowing the body vascular system to relax.
A relaxed vascular system leads to relaxation of the arterial walls and thus a reduction in blood pressure. The heart, in this condition, does not need to pump hard to circulate blood in the circulatory system.
CBD oil offers many health benefits including relief from chronic pain, inflammation, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, and so on. CBD helps in treating bad cholesterol problems indirectly by treating the ailments that cause high cholesterol. Lower cholesterol levels, in turn, reduce the risk of developing heart diseases.
By treating Diabetes
CBD can help reduce insulin sensitivity. Besides, it can also help in reducing insulin resistance. So, CBD can be very helpful in lowering insulin required to maintain the right level of blood sugar. Stable blood sugar levels will lead to a reduction in blood cholesterol levels.
By treating Anxiety and Depression
The human brain comprises several serotonin receptors. The receptors help in balancing our stress and anxiety level. Besides, they also influence our mood. CBD binds with serotonin receptors to lessen stress and anxiety. Moreover, they are also helpful in dealing with mood swings, depression, and addictions.
Treating Stress and Inflammation
- Studies have reported favorable effects of CBD in reducing and alleviating stress and related inflammation.
- Reduction in stress levels allows cortisol hormone levels to come down.
- Further, reduction in stress also reduces the flow of adrenaline and in turn the level of triglyceride triggered by these hormones.
- Both these factors help reduce the bad cholesterol in the blood.
- Vanilloid receptors are present in the peripheral nervous system. They regulate body temperature and also control the perception of pain and inflammation.
- CBD binds with these receptors and provides relief from chronic pain and inflammation in blood vessels. This, in turn, helps in reducing the blood cholesterol levels.
- CBD contains Omega 3, Omega 6, and many other fatty acids.
- When CBD interacts with the ECS receptors these fatty acids help in reducing inflammation.
- Besides, the fatty acids also offer faster relief from pain.
- They also help in regulating blood flow in the arteries.
- All these factors help in reducing stress and decreasing your cholesterol levels.
What is the right dose of CBD Oil to treat high cholesterol problems?
You should consult an authorized physician or should refer to the label for the right dose. In any condition, the best way is to start with a small dosage, observe the effects of the supplement for a few days, and then increase the dosage gradually, if needed.
You can consume CBD oil in the form of tincture or as edible like gummies or capsules, etc. Though taking CBD oil sublingually offers the quickest relief, you can also mix it with your favorite drink or food item.
What are the possible side effects of CBD when treating high cholesterol problems?
There is not much research available on the side-effects of CBD oil. However, the available reports suggest that though CBD is generally tolerable by most yet it has some side-effects including,
- Digestive issues like diarrhea
- Mood swings
- Dry mouth, etc.
Apart from these side-effects, it is important to note that CBD may affect every individual differently. So, if you already have a medical history or you are on other medications, it is advisable to consult your physician before taking CBD oil.
From the above study, it is pretty evident that CBD and cholesterol have a favorable connection. However, to say that it can directly treat the high cholesterol level requires more dedicated research.
Having said, CBD has indicated good potential for treating some of the medical conditions affecting the cholesterol levels in the bloodstream. So, even if it does not offer direct treatment, CBD definitely offers indirect benefits in reducing the cholesterol level.
However, it is highly advisable to consult your physician before starting to take CBD oil for high cholesterol.