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With over 15 million people worldwide and at least 800,000 people in the US alone being impacted by stroke each year, this condition, unfortunately, is not restricted to people above the age of 65 years.
Truth be told, at least 25% of those who suffer a stroke are actually below this age.
A person suffers a stroke when blood is unable to reach your brain. This means that oxygen too can’t reach. A human brain needs a constant supply of oxygen to keep operating. According to researchers, a person may lose up to 1.9 million brain cells per minute during a stroke.
This is an acute medical condition that can cause severe neurological damage or even kill a person within minutes if he or she doesn’t receive immediate medical attention.
Types & Symptoms
A stroke causes the brain to suffer severe inflammation and oxidation in the damaged cells.
During a stroke, a cell receptor in the human brain, known as TLR4, reacts with a protein galectin-3, causing cells to release cytokines. These protein cells trigger an inflammatory response from the body’s immune system that continues even after the stroke has passed. These reactions often cause serious damage to the brain cells and the surrounding tissues in the brain.
About 90% of strokes are triggered by high blood pressure and formation of a clot or narrowing of the blood vessels, thus obstructing blood flow to the brain. This is called Ischemic stroke.
A more fatal kind of stroke that is responsible for 40% of stroke-related deaths is known as Hemorrhagic stroke, which is caused when a blood vessel ruptures, leading to internal bleeding and fatal injury or almost instantaneous death.
Some of the common symptoms are:
- Incoherence, confusion, and trouble talking or understanding speech. A stroke affects the part of the brain that controls speech and language understanding, hence may also lead to aphasia
- Slurred speech due to paralysis in the face
- Numbness and/or paralysis of an entire side of the body
- Impaired or double vision; temporary blindness in one eye or both eyes
- Severe headaches, nausea, dizziness, severe case of vertigo and loss of natural balance
- Trouble walking due to paralysis and loss of balance
Regular smokers and people with conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity and heart disease are more vulnerable to an attack. Genetics too play a role.
All one can do is to maintain a healthy diet, avoid alcohol, nicotine and other nerve stimulants, and regularly work out to stay fit.
Can Cannabidiol help with Strokes?
People who suffer from stroke need immediate medical attention. For them, mere minutes could mean life or death. Whatever action is taken must be swift and effective.
People who have just suffered an attack or have suffered some time back need special care and prompt action. They require the faculties of physicians, rehabilitation nurses, physical therapists and trainers, language therapists, psychologists, therapeutic recreation specialists.
Some recent studies have revealed that Cannabidiol or CBD in short, can help in stroke recovery, resultant pain as well as act as a deterrent of strokes. According to a 2012 study , during a stroke and soon after cannabinoid receptors in the brain tend to suddenly rise in number.
This study shed light on the possibility that CBD can help people in stroke recovery, inflammation, and pain. CBD has neuroprotective properties. This study revealed that administering CBD soon after a stroke can help reduce chances and extent of brain damage and neurological impairment.
Ways in which CBD aids stroke recovery
CBD has been proven to help reduce bad cholesterol an induce production of good cholesterol, thus lowering an individual’s chances of suffering an embolic stroke.
CBD also improves blood flow. Paralysis, one of the main fallouts of a stroke, is caused because a sufficient amount of oxygen (that travels through the bloodstream) doesn’t reach the brain. Recovery from a stroke needs an array of intensive and prolonged physical therapy.
By increasing the blood flow, CBD speeds up the healing process by improving the patient’s motor skills in areas that were paralyzed by a stroke. It can effectively complement conventional physical therapies and expedite the patient’s recovery process.
We all know that CBD is a good stress-buster. Stress plays a big role in triggering a stroke by enhancing blood pressure. A person suffering an attack can be revived swiftly with CBD by reducing the stress level, and thus his blood pressure.
Strokes often cause oxidative damage in the brain, leading to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. This is due to an imbalance in the antioxidant mechanisms of the brain. CBD’s influence over the CB2 receptors of the brain helps minimize oxidative damage.
Ways in which CBD alleviates pain from stroke
CBD is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent and helps reduce plaque build-up in blood vessels.
Inflammations, a natural reaction by the body’s immune system in overcoming adverse situations, cause a lot of pain. Given the way CBD interacts with CB2 receptors, it can block the immune system’s inflammatory response signal, thus helping combat pain associated with stroke-related pain.
Besides, neuropathic pain caused by nerve cell damage during a stroke can also be tackled effectively and safely by CBD. Conventional medications for neuropathic pain tend to have terrifying side effects, such as intoxication, addiction, depression and anxiety, panic attacks and even death! However, CBD is not only a safe drug, but it is also as effective as any other opioid without giving you a “high” or inducing addiction or anxiety associated with addiction.
Ways in which CBD prevents stroke
We have earlier established that cannabinoid receptors tend to increase during an attack. It obviously means that a sudden imbalance in the endocannabinoid system occurs during such an attack, as a result of which the body tries to restore the balance naturally by making it ready to accept any agent that can couple with the receptors to complete the process.
So, if we can ensure the maintenance of the balance in people vulnerable to strokes, we can ensure the person doesn’t suffer an attack at all.
Besides, CBD’s unique properties of regulating blood flow and cardiovascular functions, reducing clots and plaques, reducing stress and anxiety as well as regulating involuntary activities of the body like breathing, heart rate and digestion help maintain the balance within the endocannabinoid system (a biological system in our body responsible for regulating many physiological functions), which covers the entire expanse of our body.
CBD Dosage for stroke
A dose of 0.25 – 0.5 mg of CBD oil per each pound of body weight once or twice a day is sufficient to effectively help in recovery and pain reduction. You can also use our Dosage Calculator to get the initial dosage needed by your body.
What Scientific Research Reveals about Strokes & CBD
Quite a few scientific studies and research papers have been published on CBD’s efficiency in combatting stroke, preventing it and helping a patient manage all its symptoms and fallouts.
Here are a few such citations:
- A 2009 study , published in the Microvascular Research Journal, revealed that cannabis has neuroprotective properties that can help stroke victims. The authors of the study also found out that the cannabinoids’ effects remain in the system of a stroke patient even 3 hours after being administered.
- According to a 2017 study , CBD, besides lowering a user’s blood pressure, also reduces the body’s blood pressure response to stress. The researchers discovered that even a single dose of cannabidiol can reduce a user’s blood pressure.
- A 2007 study , published in the ‘American Journal of Physiology: Heart and Circulatory Physiology’, is one of those research work that has highlighted CBD’s powerful anti-inflammatory property. The study also revealed that this cannabinoid can reduce plaque build-up in arteries, which is one of the main causes for strokes.
- A study  published in the Neuropsychopharmacology journal in 2017 even found evidence of CBD acting as a deterrent to strokes. In this clinical trial, 74 cannabis users and 101 non-users were monitored and the data analytically compared. It was found that cannabis users’ tissues are better equipped to absorb oxygen to carry out normal bodily functions. It also revealed that cannabinoids improve the brain’s oxygen absorption capacity. These revelations lead the researchers to deduce that cannabinoids may indeed be able to help decrease the risk of strokes.
- A 2010 review , published in Pharmaceuticals Journal, also highlighted the therapeutic potential of CBD, a non-intoxicating, non-addictive substance, in treating ischemic stroke. It not only showed evidence of long-lasting Cerebro- protective effect after an ischemic stroke, it also proved that CBD is non-psychoactive, one to which the body does not develop tolerance.
- Another review , published in the Neurotherapeutics Journal in 2015, pointed out that CBD’s potential to help stroke and traumatic brain injury is due to its ability to activate CB1 and CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system. This stops the release of pro-inflammatory proteins called cytokines in the brain – a natural reaction to trauma. While cytokines are blocked, these receptors cause another set of proteins, called minocycline, to release, leading to the reduction of neurological impairment and brain swelling, while deterring any further brain injury.
The above-mentioned studies are hardly exhaustive. They are many more scientific research and studies on CBD and its potential in treating stroke. You will find a list at the end of the article.
From the studies cited above and the numerous anecdotal evidence, it is quite clear that cannabinoids can help prevent strokes and even offer relief to patients who are currently suffering or have suffered from a stroke recently.
Nevertheless, more studies need to be done to tap into the true potential of cannabis plants.
We must end it on a cautionary note that before you choose to go online to buy your first CBD product or fetch it from a store nearby, consult your doctor to discuss your options.
After all, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
- Cannabinoid type 2 receptor activation downregulates stroke-induced classic and alternative brain macrophage/microglial activation concomitant to neuroprotection; Stroke; Oct 20, 2011; Zarruk JG1, Fernández-López D, García-Yébenes I, García-Gutiérrez MS, Vivancos J, Nombela F, Torres M, Burguete MC, Manzanares J, Lizasoain I, Moro MA; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22020035
- CB2 receptor activation attenuates microcirculatory dysfunction during cerebral ischemic/reperfusion injury; Microvascular Research; Mar 28, 2009; Zhang M1, Adler MW, Abood ME, Ganea D, Jallo J, Tuma RF; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19332079
- A single dose of cannabidiol reduces blood pressure in healthy volunteers in a randomized crossover study; JCI Insight; Khalid A. Jadoon, Garry D Tan, and Saoirse E O’Sullivan; June 15, 2017; https://insight.jci.org/articles/view/93760
- Cannabidiol attenuates high glucose-induced endothelial cell inflammatory response and barrier disruption; American Journal of Physiology: Heart and Circulatory Physiology; Mar 23, 2007; Mohanraj Rajesh, Partha Mukhopadhyay, Sándor Bátkai, György Haskó, Lucas Liaudet, Viktor R Drel, Irina G Obrosova, and Pál Pacher; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2228254/
- Residual Effects of THC via Novel Measures of Brain Perfusion and Metabolism in a Large Group of Chronic Cannabis Users; Neuropsychopharmacology; 27 February, 2017; Francesca M Filbey, Sina Aslan, Hanzhang Lu & Shin-Lei Peng; https://www.nature.com/articles/npp201744
- Therapeutic Potential of Non-Psychotropic Cannabidiol in Ischemic Stroke; Pharmaceuticals (Basel); July 8, 2010; Kazuhide Hayakawa, Kenichi Mishima, and Michihiro Fujiwara; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4036658/
- Cannabinoids in Neurodegenerative Disorders and Stroke/Brain Trauma: From Preclinical Models to Clinical Applications; Neurotherapeutics; Aug 11, 2015; Javier Fernández-Ruiz, María A Moro, and José Martínez-Orgado; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4604192/
- Cannabidiol reduces brain damage and improves functional recovery in a neonatal rat model of arterial ischemic stroke
- Cannabidiol, a nonpsychoactive Cannabis constituent, protects against myocardial ischemic reperfusion injury
- Cannabidiol prevents infarction via the non-CB1 cannabinoid receptor mechanism
- Cannabidiol administration after hypoxia-ischemia to newborn rats reduces long-term brain injury and restores neurobehavioral function
- Repeated treatment with cannabidiol but not Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol has a neuroprotective effect without the development of tolerance
- Protective effects of cannabidiol against hippocampal cell death and cognitive impairment induced by bilateral common carotid artery occlusion in mice