Preventative Maintenance Series #2: Blood Pressure

Hemp oil and cannabidiol (CBD) products have the potential to aid the body in preventative maintenance as pets experience the natural aging process. As our beloved pets get older, they are more prone to increased blood pressure due to the aging process (Acierno et al., 2018). Hemp products and CBD have been gaining interest for their cardiovascular medicinal benefits after positive results from preclinical studies (Jadoon et al., 2017). Hypertension in dogs and cats can be caused by a myriad of reasons including environmental or situational stress, created as a secondary response from a separate condition, or as a primary diagnosis unrelated to any other health issues (Acierno et al., 2018). Stress on the body throughout the aging process can cause blood pressure to increase slowly and CBD may decrease resting blood pressure when responding to environmental changes (Jadoon et al., 2017). This is detrimental for animals as they adapt to going to the bathroom and enjoying the outdoors year sound. CBD can be supplemented into an animal’s diet in the form of liquid droplets mixed in the food or a hemp seed meal protein hydrolysate (HMH) supplement can be added in as well as a preventative maintenance tool for pets.

Hemp Seed Meal Protein Hydrolysate

Hemp seed meal protein hydrolysate as a supplement added to a pets diet may be used as a preventative maintenance tool for high blood pressure (Girgih et al., 2014). High blood pressure can be a diagnosis and hemp may be utilized as a treatment option or it can be taken as a preventive measure (Girgih et al., 2014). These results were proven in a rat study where hypertensive rats were given HMH that was broken down in the stomach and converted to hemp seed meal protein hydrolysate (Girgih et al., 2014). On average, HMH lowered systolic blood pressure to 120 mmHg compared to the control of 158 mmHg (Girgih et al., 2014). Administering HMH also demonstrated a decrease in plasma angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) activity from (0.047-0.059 U/mL) compared to (0.123 U/mL) levels that were measured in the control group (Girgih et al., 2014). Plasma renin bodily measurements also decreased from (0.151 μg/mL) compared to (0.040-0.054 μg/mL) when fed HMH compared to the control whose HMH supplement was replaced with casein for this specific study (Girgih et al., 2014). If hypertension goes untreated for lengthened periods of time, it may cause target-organ damage to the kidney and eye leading to the progression of chronic kidney disease, choroidopathy and retinopathy (Acierno et al., 2018).

Hypertension in Dogs and Cats Classified Based on the Risk of Target-Organ Damage (TOD)

Normotensive (minimal TOD risk)SBP <140 mm Hg
Prehypertensive (low TOD risk)SBP 140‐159 mm Hg
Hypertensive (moderate TOD risk)SBP 160‐179 mm Hg
Severely hypertensive (high TOD risk)SBP ≥180 mm Hg

(Data taken from “ACVIM consensus statement: Guidelines for the identification, evaluation, and management of systemic hypertension in dogs and cats” by Acierno et al.)

Increase in Blood Pressure in Healthy Dogs and Cats

Blood pressure can rise 1-3 mmHg every year with age in healthy dogs and cats and even higher when animals are obese (Paul et al., 2006). Maintaining a healthy blood pressure is crucial to an animal’s overall health and wellbeing. The mechanism of action behind HMH is demonstrated as decreased plasma ACE activity and renin levels play a direct role in lowering systolic blood pressure measurements (Girgih et al., 2014). Decreased renin levels cause the blood vessels to relax and become less constrictive leading to an increase in blood flow and less pressure build up (Girgih et al., 2014). ACE converts angiotensin I to angiotensin II which will increase blood pressure through constriction of blood vessels (Paul et al., 2006). Decreased levels of ACE in the bloodstream reduces the presence of angiotensin II which also allows blood vessels to stay widened (Paul et al., 2006). These results lead to direct evidence demonstrating how HMH contains significant properties for preventative maintenance or treatment options on lowering systolic blood pressure (Girgih et al., 2014).

The Use of Cannabidiol to Reduce Blood Pressure

CBD may be utilized as a therapeutic agent for cardiovascular complications such as high blood pressure or as a preventative maintenance supplement as the aging process occurs in animals (Jadoon et al., 2017). Further research needs to be conducted to evaluate dosing levels of HMH for larger animals such as dogs and cats as well as analyzing blood pressure measurements for longer periods to see if administering HMH may cause hypotension. There are still large gaps in scientific studies and further research is needed on topics such as measuring how often blood pressure can fluctuate from the impact of environmental or lifestyle stressors in domesticated animals and how that affects their body over extended periods of time.


Hemp seed meal protein hydrolysate- (HMH)
Target- Organ Damage- (TOD)
angiotensin-converting enzyme- (ACE)
Cannabidiol- (CBD)


  1. Girgih, A. T., Alashi, A., He, R., Malomo, S., & Aluko, R. E. (2014). Preventive and treatment effects of a hemp seed (Cannabis sativa L.) meal protein hydrolysate against high blood pressure in spontaneously hypertensive rats. European journal of nutrition, 53(5), 1237–1246.
  2. Acierno, M. J., Brown, S., Coleman, A. E., Jepson, R. E., Papich, M., Stepien, R. L., & Syme, H. M. (2018). ACVIM consensus statement: Guidelines for the identification, evaluation, and management of systemic hypertension in dogs and cats. Journal of veterinary internal medicine, 32(6), 1803–1822.
  3. Paul, M., Poyan Mehr, A., & Kreutz, R. (2006). Physiology of local renin-angiotensin systems. Physiological reviews, 86(3), 747–803.
  4. Jadoon, K. A., Tan, G. D., & O’Sullivan, S. E. (2017). A single dose of cannabidiol reduces blood pressure in healthy volunteers in a randomized crossover study. JCI insight, 2(12), e93760.
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