It’s hard to imagine that in just a few seconds, your entire life could be turned upside down…
For over 15 million people across the world each year, this is exactly what happens when they experience a stroke.
In the United States alone, strokes impact over 800,000 people.
And it’s not only older individuals who are at risk.
In fact, around 25% of people who experience a stroke are under the age of 65.
But what if cannabis could help?
A growing body of research indicates cannabis shows therapeutic promise as a treatment for stroke patients.
Cannabis could prove to be life-changing in this area.
Here’s what you need to know about cannabis and strokes.
What is a stroke?
Before exploring cannabis as a treatment for stroke patients, it’s important to understand what a stroke actually is.
A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is stopped or reduced.
The cells in the brain depend on oxygen to survive.
When blood flow to the brain is interrupted, brain cells begin to die rapidly.
This causes a loss of control in muscle movement and memory.
How serious the damage is depends on the severity and location of the stroke.
A minor stroke may result in muscle weakness or a temporary impairment in speech while a major stroke may cause permanent paralysis or even total loss of speech.
While many people do go on to a full recovery – it’s estimated that two-thirds of stroke survivors experience at least one lifelong disability.
Here’s what the research shows on strokes and cannabis
Our knowledge of cannabis as a therapeutic intervention for strokes is just beginning.
We still have a lot left to learn.
However, the information we do have is eye-opening.
Research shows cannabinoids like CBD and THC play a vital role in treating and even reducing the risk of strokes occurring.
Are you curious how?
Cannabinoids could reduce brain damage and neurological impairment
Time is of the essence when a stroke occurs.
A few minutes can mean the difference between a lifelong disability and the road to recovery.
A 2012 all study found that after a stroke, the amount of cannabinoid receptors in the brain increases.
Cannabis stimulates these receptors, thereby inducing a neuroprotective effect.
During the study, researchers administered a synthetic cannabinoid 10 minutes after a stroke took place.
Shockingly, brain damage and neurological impairments were significantly reduced once cannabinoids were introduced.
This study is far from the only example of cannabis’ neuroprotective properties.
A study published in the Microvascular Research Journal also found that cannabis has a neuroprotective effect that could be helpful for stroke victims.
Incredibly the researchers discovered cannabinoids were effective up to 3 hours after first administered.
This is huge!
Cannabinoids could dramatically improve the quality of someone’s life after a stroke, perhaps even save it.
CBD improves blood flow and reduces inflammation
Did you know higher stress levels are associated with an increased risk of strokes?
While there are other factors at play such as cholesterol levels, age, diet, tobacco use, etc. – stress plays a big role in the development of strokes, especially because it raises blood pressure, which increases your susceptibility to strokes.
A study revealed CBD not only lowers resting blood pressure but also your blood pressure’s response to stress.
In fact, the researchers found that even a single dose of CBD could lower your blood pressure.
But that’s not all…
A study from the American Journal of Psychology found that CBD is also a powerful anti-inflammatory and can reduce the symptoms of atherosclerosis (plaque build up in the arteries) – another leading cause of strokes.
The researchers even concluded:
“Our results suggest that CBD, which has recently been approved for the treatment of inflammation, pain, and spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis in humans, may have significant therapeutic benefits against diabetic complications and atherosclerosis.”
THC is shown to reduce the severity of strokes
CBD is not the only cannabinoid that could be helpful in treating strokes.
In fact, THC in low doses may also be beneficial.
A 2005 study examined the effect of THC and strokes. Interestingly, the researchers found that THC acted on CB2 receptors in the body and reduced the severity of strokes.
Now, it’s important to mention that this is one of few studies done to examine the relationship between THC and strokes.
Clearly we need more research to make outright claims here.
Nevertheless, what is clear is the profound impact cannabinoids could have in alleviating and treating strokes.
Cannabis may reduce risk of stroke
What if cannabis could not only reduce the damage of strokes but also prevent them from occurring in the first place?
A recent study published in February 2017 revealed cannabis may do exactly that.
Seventy-four cannabis consumers were compared to 101 non-users. Participants who identified themselves as cannabis users had consumed at least 5,000 times (or more) in their lives, primarily via smoking.
All participants were asked to take an MRI.
But here’s where things get interesting….
Cannabis consumers were found to have a higher rate of global oxygen extraction fraction (OEF) along with an improved cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen.
Why is this significant?
Cannabis has a big impact on our blood and oxygen flow to the brain. And according to this study, it may help increase it, thereby reducing our risk of experiencing a stroke.
Is cannabis a cure-all for strokes? Certainly not.
It’s clear we need more research to fully understand the therapeutic impact.
Regardless, we do know that cannabis does have a huge potential for transforming lives.
It’s high time we explore the full potential of this plant.
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