Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-intoxicating and generally well-tolerated constituent of cannabis which exhibits potential beneficial properties in a wide range of diseases, including cardiovascular disorders. Due to its complex mechanism of action, CBD may affect the cardiovascular system in different ways. Thus, we reviewed the influence of CBD on this system in health and disease to determine the potential risk of cardiovascular side effects during CBD use for medical and wellness purposes and to elucidate its therapeutic potential in cardiovascular diseases. Administration of CBD to healthy volunteers or animals usually does not markedly affect hemodynamic parameters. Although CBD has been found to exhibit vasodilatory and antioxidant properties in hypertension, it has not affected blood pressure in hypertensive animals. Hypotensive action of CBD has been mainly revealed under stress conditions. Many positive effects of CBD have been observed in experimental models of heart diseases (myocardial infarction, cardiomyopathy, myocarditis), stroke, neonatal hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, sepsis-related encephalitis, cardiovascular complications of diabetes, and ischemia/reperfusion injures of liver and kidneys. In these pathological conditions CBD decreased organ damage and dysfunction, oxidative and nitrative stress, inflammatory processes and apoptosis, among others. Nevertheless, further clinical research is needed to recommend the use of CBD in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases.
Keywords: cannabidiol; cannabinoids; cannabis; cardiomyopathy; cardiovascular system; hypertension; ischemia; vasodilation.