Can CBD Help with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)?

Can CBD Help with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)?

Following mounting research and compelling anecdotal evidence, CBD has been highlighted as a powerful partner for a range of ailments. From chronic conditions like fibromyalgia to the occasional disruptive migraine, CBD may provide natural relief.

Because CBD positively impacts many conditions, many wonder if the hemp-derived cannabinoid may also alleviate the symptoms of postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. Join us as we explore the relationship between CBD and POTS!

 

What is POTS?

Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, or POTS, is a disorder characterized by an increase in heart rate and decrease in blood pressure when standing. This often leads to dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting. Some people also experience:

  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Pale face or purplish color in the hands or feet when standing
  • Excessive sweating, especially while sleeping
  • Heart palpitations
  • Chest pains
  • Anxiety, nervousness, or jittery sensations
  • Shaking or tremors
  • Headaches or body aches
  • Gastrointestinal upset
  • Fatigue or insomnia

If you have POTS, most of your blood remains in your lower body upon standing up. This causes your heart to beat faster in an effort to move blood to your brain. As your heart rate increases by as much as 30 beats or more per minute, your blood pressure drops.

Approximately 1 to 3 million Americans struggle with POTS. Although many are able to manage their symptoms effectively, some find that the disease flares and falls back into remission throughout their lives. Unfortunately, about 25% of patients report that their symptoms are extremely disruptive, making daily life difficult to manage. Symptoms often arise or worsen in the following situations, amongst others:

  • Standing frequently or for long periods of time
  • Engaging in strenuous exercise
  • Being warm or overheated
  • Having a cold or other infectious illness
  • Menstruating, or having your period

There are many different types of POTS, the most common being:

  • Neuropathic POTS: this emerges alongside damage to the small fiber nerves that regulate blood flow in your limbs and abdominal region.
  • Hyperadrenergic POTS: this occurs in response to high levels of the stress hormone norepinephrine.
  • Hypovolemic POTS: this accompanies unusually low levels of blood in the body.

POTS can also result from other conditions, including:

  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Anemia
  • Chronic stress or anxiety
  • Diabetes or prediabetes
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Lyme disease

Researchers aren’t entirely sure what causes POTS. Some believe it may be an autoimmune disease, which occurs when the immune system attacks itself in response to certain stimuli.

Anyone can receive a POTS diagnosis; however, the disorder is most commonly diagnosed in females aged 15 to 50. Although it appears to run in some families, researchers have yet to isolate a single gene that links the disease.

 

How is POTS treated?

Unfortunately, there is no known cure for POTS. Many symptoms may be alleviated using various therapeutic techniques, but the condition typically flares throughout the patient’s lifetime.

Treating POTS comes in many forms, including:

  • Implementing an exercise routine, especially one that focuses on physical activities that align with a cardiac rehabilitation program.
  • Making dietary changes, including increased sodium consumption, increased fluid intake, and balanced nutrition.
  • Wearing compression clothing like socks or abdominal binders.
  • Taking certain medications, such as fludrocortisone, midodrine, pyridostigmine, or beta blockers.

Healthy lifestyle changes are important to managing POTS. Though pharmaceutical prescriptions help some, many find that they come with unwanted or even dangerous side effects.

 

How can CBD help with POTS?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a natural compound derived from the legal hemp plant. This popular cannabinoid is non-psychoactive, meaning it does not produce the “high” you might expect from marijuana ingestion.

By interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), CBD brings about a variety of health benefits, many of which may aid in the treatment of POTS.

CBD may help regulate blood pressure and improve blood flow

When people with POTS stand up, they experience an increase in heart rate accompanied by a decrease in blood pressure. CBD helps regulate these circulatory issues by triggering the CB1 and CB2 endocannabinoid receptors throughout the body to induce overall homeostasis.

Although many studies find that CBD lowers blood pressure, some research indicates that CBD may ultimately regulate blood pressure generally. In addition, this 2009 study found that CBD lowers heart rate in rats exposed to stressful situations.

CBD can alleviate stress and anxiety

For many, stress induces or worsens the symptoms of POTS. Additionally, the condition itself can cause stress or anxiety.

This 2020 review concluded that CBD not only decreases stress, but also reduces cardiovascular and other physiological responses to stress. In addition, this 2019 study found that CBD reduces anxiety scores within a single month of treatment. Another study from that same year boast similar results: high doses of CBD reduced anxiety in users placed in high anxiety-provoking situations.

A second 2020 review observed a positive impact on patients diagnosed with a variety of anxiety disorders when administered various daily doses of CBD. Researchers believe that these findings resulted from CBD’s direct interaction with limbic and paralimbic brain activity, which significantly reduces feelings of anxiety.

CBD might reduce tremors

Some people with POTS experience tremors, a symptom that can be frightening and difficult to manage. To make matters worse, medications often used to fight tremors can cause harm to the body when used over extended periods of time.

This 2018 study found that CBD drastically improves motor functioning while simultaneously delivering anxiolytic, antipsychotic, and neuroprotective properties. Additionally, this recent 2024 review examines the ways in which CBD betters motor functions and overall cognition.

CBD may quell pain and headaches

POTS often involves painful headaches and generalized pain throughout the body. These symptoms can be incredibly disruptive and difficult to manage without the use of heavy pharmaceutical drugs.

This 2018 review examines CBD’s ability to relieve pain by attaching to the CB2 receptors in the ECS that regulate inflammatory markers and the overall pain response.

Additionally, a more recent 2020 review draws similar conclusions: CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties trigger CB2 receptors to decrease levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, inhibiting inflammatory cell proliferation, curtailing migration and adhesion of immune cells, and reducing oxidative stress.

Regarding headaches specifically, this 2020 study found that CBD and other cannabinoids induced an entourage effect of benefits to prevent the incidence of severe headaches like migraines in the long term.

CBD can mitigate nausea and vomiting

Evidence supporting CBD for nausea and vomiting relief is long-standing. Because people with POTS experience these symptoms in response to the dizziness often felt when standing up, CBD may be helpful here, as well.

This 2011 study found that CBD interacts with the serotonin receptors in the brain that regulate nausea and vomiting. Researchers conclude that CBD may suppress severe and ongoing nausea and vomiting experienced by chemotherapy patients. Additionally, this 2021 study suggests that CBD significantly reduces the incidence of nausea and vomiting with continuous dosing.

 

Although there are no current studies linking CBD and POTS specifically, plenty of evidence suggests that CBD may provide some much-needed relief for the debilitating symptoms that accompany the chronic condition. We hope that CBD helps you on your journey towards wellness and physiological healing!



time Mar 21, 2024
1

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