Medical cannabis has proven beneficial for a wide variety of health conditions.

Now, a first-of-its-kind study in adults 60 and above with hypertension shows that smoking cannabis, or ingesting its oils, significantly reduces 24-hour systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

This discovery by researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and its affiliated Soroka University Medical Center appeared in the European Journal of Internal Medicine.

“Older adults are the fastest growing group of medical cannabis users, yet evidence on cardiovascular safety for this population is scarce,” said lead author Dr. Ran Abuhasira of the BGU BGU-Soroka Cannabis Clinical Research Institute.

“This study is part of our ongoing effort to provide clinical research on the actual physiological effects of cannabis over time.”

Twenty-six patients were evaluated using 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, ECG, blood tests, and body measurements ─ both before and three months after initiating cannabis therapy. The lowest point occurred three hours after administration. Reductions in blood pressure were seen in both daytime and nighttime, with more significant changes at night.

The BGU researchers theorize that pain relief, the indication for prescription cannabis in most patients, may also have contributed to lowered blood pressure.

In November, the University of Haifa released a study showing that medical cannabis can safely be used by people 50 and older for easing chronic pain.

Abuhasira’s co-authors include Prof. Victor Novack, director of the BGU-Soroka Cannabis Clinical Research Institute and BGU-Soroka Clinical Research Center and Research Authority; Prof. Yosef Haviv, chief of nephrology at Soroka; and Prof. Merav Leiba, Prof. Adi Leiba and Dr. Larisa Ryvo of the Assuta Ashdod Academic Medical Center.