Research suggests CBD could help manage varicose veins via influence on the cardiovascular system.
Varicose or spider veins can be as upsetting as they are signaling to a larger issue in the body. The Chicago Vein Institute estimates that over 40 million people in the United States suffer from varicose veins.
According to Dr. Eric S. Hager for the Society for Vascular Surgery, “Women, women who have had multiple children, and obese persons are at a higher risk.” Even more interesting, women who were overweight with a BMI greater than 30 were three times as likely to develop the veins. Additionally, a family history could raise chances of developing the ailment almost 90%.
The veins are much more than a sign of aging, they signal a large problem within the body. The American Vein and Lymphatic Society explains that varicose veins happen when there’s a lack of efficient blood flow from the weakening of valves that causes blood to not flow towards the heart, but instead remain in the leg.
“If the valves of the veins don’t function well, blood doesn’t flow efficiently, and the veins become enlarged because they are congested with blood. These enlarged veins are commonly called spider veins or varicose veins. Spider veins are small red, blue or purple veins on the surface of the skin. Varicose veins are larger, distended veins that are located somewhat deeper than spider veins.”
While varicose veins can be embarrassing, treatments have been available on the market in the form of vein clinics and surgery. With the introduction of CBD into the market, professionals and patients are taking notice of CBD’s benefits for varicose veins, but does research support its use?
The short answer is: Maybe.
A study published by the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology in 2013 showed promise for cannabidiol as therapy for the cardiovascular system. The study gave insight into CBD’s benefits and offered that in some cases, cannabidiol could cause a reduction in vascular tension or, “vasorelaxation.”
Princeton Vascular believes CBD has a role in vein health, citing that since cannabinoid is flush with omega-3 fatty acids, it can not only decrease itching, burning and pain from varicose veins, but it offers an option in improving their appearance as well as long as patients are under the care of a board-certified vein specialist. They explain, “The use of hemp oil has been reported to decrease the local itching, burning and pain from spider veins and can be applied to the skin directly. Anecdotally, it has also been reported to improve the appearance of spider veins.”
However, there’s a caveat: CBD seems to offer benefits to varicose veins, while one study found that smoking marijuana e-cigarettes can damage blood vessels after just one use. The study published in August 2019, stated that out of a small sample of 31 individuals, MRI’s before vaping showed healthy blood flow and after vaping highlighted reduced blood flow. While more research is needed, the study implies that continuous use could cause even further damage.
While new research continues on CBD and THC, raising a question about CBD’s benefits in vein health might be a great conversation for your care team, opening new solutions for an age-old problem.