Can CBD Oil Cause Heart Palpitations

Experts weigh in on the safety of hemp supplements after one woman developed heart issues from hemp oil. CBD (cannabidiol) oil may be safe for heart patients, but research is limited. Learn about the potential heart benefits of CBD, along with drug interactions. The popularity of herbal supplements has grown rapidly in recent years. As with many other daily pills, its important to be aware of the potential side effects as a new study highlights how CBD and CBG products could cause dizziness, fainting or an irregular heartbeat

This Woman Developed Heart Issues From Hemp Oil—Is the Product Actually Safe?

Luckily, she’s OK now. Here’s what to know about safety and dosage.

A 56-year-old woman is on the mend after developing heart issues due to hemp oil supplements. The woman, who has not been publicly identified, landed in the hospital and became the subject of a new case report.

The report, which was published in the journal Heart Rhythm Case Reports, details how the woman went to the ER after becoming dizzy and fainting. At the hospital, she was diagnosed with a heart arrhythmia, an irregular heartbeat that can be life-threatening.

The woman, who was not publicly identified, shared with doctors that she was taking herbal supplements with hemp oil that contained cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabigerol (DBG)—two chemicals found in the cannabis plant that don’t cause a high. She was also taking supplements that contained berberine, a plant-based compound that has been linked to lowered blood sugar and increased metabolism.

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The woman told doctors that she was using the supplements to help her with her stressful work schedule. The woman was transferred to the hospital’s cardiology ward where testing revealed she was taking up to six times the recommended dose of hemp oil.

Six days later, she was discharged and, during a three-month follow-up appointment, she shared that she hadn’t fainted or felt dizzy. Her heart rhythm also appeared to have returned to normal.

“These products should be used with caution, as data concerning their effectiveness, toxicity, and potential for interactions are limited,” the researchers wrote in the conclusion. “The use of these supplements should not be taken lightly, dosing recommendations should be respected, and possible interactions with other medication or supplements should always be considered.”

Hemp oil and CBD oil is increasingly showing up in supplements, tinctures, and lotions. So, should you be concerned about using it? Experts weigh in.

What is hemp oil?

Hemp oil is an oil that’s made by pressing hemp seeds, according to Jamie Alan, Pharm.D., Ph.D., associate professor of pharmacology at Michigan State University. “By definition it contains a minimum amount of THC,” she says. (THC, in case you’re not familiar with it, is short for tetrahydrocannabinol, is the chemical that’s responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects—meaning, it gets you high.)

Hemp oil must contain no more than 0.3% THC, Alan says.

People use hemp oil and its sister oil, CBD oil, for a range of things, including the treatment of anxiety, aches and pains, and blood pressure modification. However research is still ongoing to see if these claims are legitimate.

What are potential side effects of using hemp oil?

Alan points out that the woman in this study “took a massive amount of hemp oil” which isn’t typical. Alan says it’s “unclear” why the woman’s arrhythmia happened but, she says, “it might be because of the large amount of cannabinoids—CBD and CBG.”

“Generally, the research has suggested that the CBD from hemp oil actually might be good for your heart due to its anti-inflammatory properties,” says Keri Gans, M.S., R.D., author of The Small Change Diet. “Studies have shown a decrease in blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and a reduced risk for heart disease with daily CBD usage.” But, she adds, dosage matters. “If a person takes much more than the recommended dosage, it could potentially lower their blood pressure too much,” Gans says. (Worth noting: The U.S. National Library of Medicine says that 200 milligrams is considered the maximum safe dosage.)

In general, when it’s taken as directed, there usually aren’t many side effects to taking hemp oil or CBD oil other than sleepiness, Alan says.

There are some potential drug interactions, though, and the U.S. National Library of Medicine has a laundry list. It includes (but isn’t limited to):

  • Caffeine
  • Lithium
  • Central nervous system depressants
  • Tamoxifen
  • Warfarin

The U.S. National Library of Medicine also warns against taking supplements with CBD along with those that contain hops, kava, L-tryptophan, melatonin, and valerian—they can cause too much sleepiness or slowed breathing.

Is it safe to use hemp oil?

In general, experts say it’s OK to use hemp oil. “If you know that it’s hemp oil and it’s pure and you’re not taking 700 million other supplements with it, then it’s probably safe to take the recommended amount,” says Kathryn Boling, M.D., a primary care physician at Baltimore’s Mercy Medical Center. “Sometimes we live in a society where people think more is better but more is not better in many cases, especially with medications and supplements.”

Alan says you’ll “usually” be OK to take hemp oil orally and topically, but she includes a huge caveat: “’Herbal’ products are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, and there is no guarantee that what you are getting is what is stated on the bottle and not contaminated with anything else.”

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If you have an underlying health condition or are on any medication, Alan suggests talking to your doctor before using anything that contains CBD, just to be safe. Because this is a largely an unregulated industry, Alan also recommends doing your due diligence before deciding on a product and going with a reputable brand with data to support their claims. “You can get CBD—which is part of hemp oil—from places who will give you a lab report. That is better,” she says.

If you prefer to buy your hemp oil in person, Dr. Boling suggests visiting a dispensary. “That’s what I tell my patients to do,” she says. “It’s regulated.”

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Korin Miller is a freelance writer specializing in general wellness, sexual health and relationships, and lifestyle trends, with work appearing in Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Self, Glamour, and more. She has a master’s degree from American University, lives by the beach, and hopes to own a teacup pig and taco truck one day.

CBD and Heart Health

What to Know About CBD for Heart Failure, Cholesterol, and Blood Pressure

Lindsay Curtis is a health writer with over 20 years of experience in writing health, science & wellness-focused articles.

Verywell Health articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and healthcare professionals. These medical reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more.

Jeffrey S. Lander, MD, is a board-certified cardiologist and the President and Governor of the American College of Cardiology, New Jersey chapter.

Heart health is one of the areas being explored to determine the therapeutic health benefits of cannabidiol (CBD). Nearly 655,000 Americans die from heart disease every year, accounting for one in every four deaths.

CBD cannot cure heart disease or congestive heart failure, but it is being studied for ways it may help reduce symptoms or prevent heart disease. However, CBD has not been shown in large studies to prevent diseases that lead to heart failure.

Read on to learn more about CBD’s benefits for the heart, what CBD oil is, side effects, and forms of CBD oil.

Verywell / Jessica Olah

What Is CBD Oil?

Cannabidiol oil is extracted from the leaves and flowers of the cannabis plant. CBD is a chemical that’s unique to the cannabis plant. The two major cannabinoids contained in cannabis plants are:

  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC): It has psychoactive properties that create a “high” feeling.
  • Cannabidiol (CBD): It has no psychoactive effects but provides several therapeutic benefits.

Both CBD and THC interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the body. The ECS is a complex biological system that impacts many of the body’s functions, including appetite, memory, mood, and sleep. Researchers are learning that the endocannabinoid plays a role in the function of the cardiovascular (heart) system.

A growing body of evidence shows that dysregulated ECS is associated with a number of cardiovascular diseases. Whether you have a heart condition or want to prevent heart disease, CBD may boost your endocannabinoid system to help it regulate the cardiovascular system.

Overview of Heart Failure

Heart disease is an umbrella term that refers to several types of heart conditions. Heart disease may involve the heart valves, arteries, and heart rate, leading to heart failure.

Heart failure is a serious health condition in which the heart isn’t pumping the way it should be. The body depends on the heart’s pumping action to deliver oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to all of its cells.

With heart failure, the heart cannot supply the body’s cells with enough blood, leading to symptoms that can have a tremendous impact on your quality of life.

Heart failure has a number of causes, including genetics, other medical conditions (e.g., anemia, diabetes, sleep apnea), and lifestyle (e.g., smoking, obesity).

Symptoms of heart failure vary, depending on the type and severity of heart failure you have. Common symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Increased heart rate
  • Weakness
  • Bluish-colored fingers and/or lips
  • Persistent coughing or wheezing
  • Lack of appetite
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Inability to sleep when lying flat

CBD and Heart Health

CBD has anti-inflammatory, antioxidative properties that may help reduce risk factors that can lead to heart disease. It may also be helpful in reducing the risk of related conditions, such as stroke.

Blood Pressure

Research suggests that even a single dose of CBD can lower blood pressure. High blood pressure has been linked to congestive heart failure. This is because high blood pressure makes it more difficult for blood to travel easily throughout the body, causing the heart to work harder.

While more research is needed to be sure, CBD may be helpful in lowering blood pressure to prevent congestive heart failure.

Cholesterol

CBD oil has anti-inflammatory properties, which may help reduce cholesterol levels to improve heart health. Cholesterol is a type of lipid (fat) found in the blood.

High cholesterol levels—particularly low-density lipoprotein (LDL), aka “bad” cholesterol—increase the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. LDL can build up in the lining of blood vessels, causing a blockage that can lead to heart attack or stroke.

CBD has properties that help relax arterial walls, which research suggests may help reduce blood pressure and excess cholesterol. In animal studies, CBD has been shown to increase HDL levels—aka “good” cholesterol—and lower LDL levels after four weeks of CBD supplementation.

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Inflammation

CBD is perhaps best known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Research suggests that inflammation may be at the root of many chronic illnesses. Heart disease is associated with inflammation. Inflamed blood vessels make it harder for the heart to pump blood throughout the body.

One study found that CBD has a direct effect on the arteries, helping reduce inflammation and improving blood flow. This suggests that CBD reduces inflammation in arteries and blood vessels, easing the strain on the heart, potentially preventing heart failure.

Weight Management

Obesity is one of the leading causes of congestive heart failure, which is one reason why it is important to maintain a healthy weight for optimal heart health. There is some evidence to suggest that CBD may help maintain a healthy weight.

One study found that CBD promotes the browning of white fat cells, which aids in converting the fat into burnable calories. This is beneficial because brown fat cells contain more mitochondria than white fat cells, which helps burn calories. White fat cells contain droplets of fat that accumulate around the body and can lead to obesity.

Are There Any Side Effects?

CBD has few side effects, and the World Health Organization states that it is generally well tolerated and has a good safety profile. While relatively safe, there are a few things to consider before you try CBD.

If you are currently taking any other medications, speak with your doctor before trying CBD. Some research suggests that CBD may interfere with the way the liver processes certain medications.

This interference may prevent the liver from metabolizing other medications as it normally would, leading to higher concentrations of the medication in the body and increasing the risk of liver toxicity.

Best CBD for Heart Health

CBD comes in many different forms, including oils and tinctures, edibles, topicals, and vaporizers. Taking CBD oil sublingually (under the tongue) is an easy way to enjoy the benefits. Using sublingual oils tends to work faster and produce stronger results than other edible products, such as gummies.

Vaping CBD is a fast way of delivering CBD into your system, but it is not recommended for individuals with heart disease. Vaping is associated with lung damage, and research shows it causes an increased risk in developing cardiovascular disease.

There are a number of CBD types to choose from. Understanding these differences can help you choose which type is best for your needs. These types include:

  • Isolate: CBD is the only cannabinoid contained in the product.
  • Full-spectrum: Contains multiple naturally occurring cannabis plant extracts, including terpenes, other cannabinoids, and up to 0.3% THC.
  • Broad: Contains CBD and other components/cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, but does not contain any THC.

The availability of these products varies from state to state, particularly for products that contain THC.

If you’re just starting off with CBD, try a small dose first. Watch for any side effects. If you wish, you can slowly increase your dosage (no more than 5 to 10 mg increase at a time) until you find the dosage that is right for you.

How to Buy CBD

With so many CBD options available, shopping for the right product can be an overwhelming experience. Some important things to keep in mind when buying CBD include:

  • Cannabis source: CBD is derived from cannabis plants, and it’s important the CBD is sourced from a company that takes care in the quality and cultivation of their plants. Look for products that come from organic plants when possible.
  • Certificate of Analysis (CoA): Responsible, reputable manufacturers offer a CoA that clearly states the amounts of cannabinoids in a product. CoAs are conducted by an independent, accredited lab.
  • Read the label: Read the full list of ingredients contained in CBD to know what you are consuming.
  • Type of CBD: To get the best results, look for full-spectrum or broad CBD products. These may offer an “entourage effect,” combining the effects of multiple cannabis compounds that work in synergy to offer the most benefits.

Summary

CBD oil is extracted from the cannabis plant. It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties. Researchers are looking into ways it could be beneficial for heart health. While it has few side effects, it may slow liver metabolism and affect other medications you are taking.

Cannabidiol comes in several forms and methods of application. People with heart disease should avoid products that require vaping or smoking.

A Word From Verywell

While CBD is not a cure for heart failure, it may prevent further damage thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. CBD may be helpful in reducing blood pressure, decreasing inflammation and cholesterol, and maintaining a healthy weight. Improving these factors may reduce the risk of heart failure.

Speak with your doctor before trying CBD, particularly if you are on any other medications or dietary supplements. Your doctor can let you know if it is safe to take, and may have product and/or dosage recommendations.

Frequently Asked Questions

How safe is CBD for congestive heart failure?

CBD is generally considered to be safe for congestive heart failure. Research shows no significant adverse effects of CBD at a wide range of doses (anywhere from 3 to 1,200 mg/day).

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CBD has significant potential to treat a variety of heart diseases and comes with few adverse side effects, though more research is needed. Talk with your doctor before using CBD for heart disease, particularly if you are currently taking any other medications.

Does CBD lead to heart problems?

CBD alone does not lead to heart problems. However, CBD is broken down and metabolized by the liver. During this process, it may interfere with your medications for any heart conditions you have. This may lead to liver problems or interfere with the effectiveness of any medications you are taking.

Exercise caution and speak with your doctor before using CBD for heart failure.

Can CBD cause heart palpitations?

The cardiovascular effects of CBD are currently being studied. Some research suggests that cannabis use may cause arrhythmia (irregular heart rate) or tachycardia (increase in heart rate).

However, those studies included products that also contain THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis plants. More research is needed to determine if CBD causes heart palpitations.

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Heart disease facts.

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Cunha P, Romão AM, Mascarenhas-Melo F, Teixeira HM, Reis F. Endocannabinoid system in cardiovascular disorders – new pharmacotherapeutic opportunities. J Pharm Bioallied Sci. 2011;3(3):350-360. doi:10.4103/0975-7406.84435

National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Heart failure.

Furman D, Campisi J, Verdin E, et al. Chronic inflammation in the etiology of disease across the life span. Nat Med. 2019;25(12):1822-1832. doi:10.1038/s41591-019-0675-0

Parray HA, Yun JW. Cannabidiol promotes browning in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Mol Cell Biochem. 2016;416(1-2):131-139. doi:10.1007/s11010-016-2702-5

World Health Organization. Cannabidiol (CBD).

Ewing LE, Skinner CM, Quick CM, et al. Hepatotoxicity of a cannabidiol-rich cannabis extract in the mouse model. Molecules. 2019;24(9):1694. doi:10.3390/molecules24091694

Peruzzi M, Biondi-Zoccai G, Carnevale R, Cavarretta E, Frati G, Versaci F. Vaping cardiovascular health risks: an updated umbrella review. Curr Emerg Hosp Med Rep. 2020;8:1-7. doi:10.1007/s40138-020-00219-0

Garza-Cervantes JA, Ramos-González M, Lozano O, Jerjes-Sánchez C, García-Rivas G. Therapeutic applications of cannabinoids in cardiomyopathy and heart failure. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2020:4587024. doi:10.1155/2020/4587024

Goyal H, Awad HH, Ghali JK. Role of cannabis in cardiovascular disorders. J Thorac Dis. 2017;9(7):2079-2092. doi:10.21037/jtd.2017.06.104

Herbal supplements such as CBD could cause ‘adverse’ side effects, study finds

The popularity of herbal supplements has grown rapidly in recent years. As with many other daily pills, its important to be aware of the potential side effects as a new study highlights how CBD and CBG products could cause dizziness, fainting or an irregular heartbeat

  • 16:20, 23 May 2022
  • Updated 19:18, 23 May 2022

The UK sees around £440million spent yearly on herbal supplements. They are usually deemed relatively natural, however, that does not mean they are always safe.

New research which appeared in Heart Rhythm Case Reports, an official journal of the Heart Rhythm Society, published by Elsevier, explored the case of a patient who experienced dizziness and fainting.

The patient was diagnosed with a dangerous cardiac arrhythmia after taking hemp oil containing CBD and CBG and berberine supplements.

Cannabigerol (CBG) is a cannabinoid, meaning it’s one of the many chemicals found in cannabis plants.

People who consume CBD and CBG products, which is available without prescription, have reported heart palpitations and other unusual side effects.

In the study, a 56-year-old woman was admitted to the emergency department after experiencing dizziness and fainting without warning.

She was later diagnosed with a life-threatening cardiac arrhythmia after an ECG and reported having a rapid heartbeat.

Apart from low blood pressure, the patient’s physical examination and blood work were normal.

The doctors were able to identify the cause as the herbal supplements she was taking to help her cope with a stressful work-life balance.

All supplements were stopped during her hospital stay and at her three-month follow-up, she reported no new episodes of dizziness or fainting. Her ECG remained within normal range too.

With no other causative factors, her return to normal strongly validated that the diagnosis linked the supplements to the arrhythmia.

It’s important to remember that CBD can affect people differently, and different products can have distinct effects.

“More and more people are taking herbal supplements for their potential benefits. Yet their ‘natural’ character can be misleading, since these preparations can have serious adverse side effects on their own or if combined with other supplements or medications,” said Doctor Elise Bakelants, Department of Cardiology, University Hospital of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.

She added: “Their use should not be taken lightly, and dosing recommendations should always be respected.”

Dr Bakelants cautioned patients and physicians to be aware of possible side effects, respect dosing recommendations and consider possible interactions with other medications, particularly in patients with underlying cardiac disease.

Other supplements that were also associated with cardiovascular effects were bodybuilding and sexual enhancement products.

Fortunately, the majority of patients with heart palpitations or chest pain induced by supplements were not deemed life-threatening.

Its important to speak with your GP before embarking on any new supplements.