Is CBD an Effective Treatment for Stroke Patients?
Strokes claim thousands of lives every year and can occur when you least expect it. Recent studies have shown that CBD may help reduce the risk of having a stroke. Curious? Read on to find out more.
There is no saying when a stroke will happen. They occur regardless of health, age, or gender, and can be devastating for those that experience them. Once you have a stroke, there is no way to reverse the damage it has done. But there are things you can do to improve your health and get back to a more functional state.
Recent research has shown that CBD can be effective in not only reducing the risk of a stroke, but also improving the condition of stroke victims. Keep reading to find out how it may be a promising solution in the prevention and treatment of strokes.
What is a Stroke?
A stroke is a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain. It occurs when a blood vessel carrying oxygen and other nutrients to the brain is blocked by a clot, or ruptures. When that happens, part of the brain can’t get the blood and oxygen it needs, and brain cells die.
There are a few different types of strokes. An ischemic stroke is caused by a clot obstructing the flow of blood to the brain. A hemorrhagic stroke is caused by a blood vessel rupturing and preventing the flow of blood to the brain. A TIA (transient ischemic attack) or “mini-stroke” is caused by a temporary blood clot.
The effects of a stroke will vary depending on which part of the brain it occurs in, and the severity of symptoms depends on how much of the brain was affected. However, there are some generalizations.
Left Brain: If the left side of the brain experiences a stroke, the right side of the body may be affected in the following ways:
- Speech/language problems
- Slow behavioral style
- Memory Loss
Right Brain: If the right side of the brain experiences a stroke, the left side of the body may be affected in the following ways:
- Vision problems
- Quick, inquisitive behavioral style
- Memory loss
When a stroke occurs in the brain stem, both sides of the body may be affected. Depending on the severity of the stroke, where they are unable to speak or achieve any movement below the neck.
Who has Strokes?
Strokes don’t affect one portion of the population. They can happen to anyone at any time. However, there are several factors that make your chance of having a stroke more likely. Unpreventable factors that increase your risk for stroke include gender, age, and family history. Controllable lifestyle factors that increase your risk for stroke include high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, high blood cholesterol levels, heavy drinking, a high-salt and high-fat diet, and lack of exercise. Additionally, someone who already has a stroke is also more likely to have another.
CBD and Stroke Recovery
CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties may be extremely beneficial to patients in stroke recovery. Inflammation is the body’s response to a medical trauma or injury. When someone suffers a stroke, there is significant inflammation at the site where the hemorrhage or clot occurs. This inflammation is part of a defense mechanism that the body’s immune system activates. Because the endocannabinoid system is known to regulate inflammation, promote brain cell survival, and improve blood cells, it is believed that introducing cannabinoids from external sources can minimize inflammation in the brain and nervous system.
After a stroke, the brain has increased levels of inflammation and oxidation in the damaged cells. As a result, the TLR4 cell receptor interacts with a protein called galectin-3 and causes the cells to release cytokines. The release of cytokines causes the body to continue producing an inflammatory response even after the stroke has stopped. This chronic inflammation can further damage brain cells and any surrounding tissues.
CBD protects the brain after a stroke by inhibiting these mechanisms. It naturally lowers the cytokine levels to prevent an inflammatory response that can kill healthy brain cells. The cannabinoid’s ability to reduce inflammation makes it a promising neuroprotectant, working to treat and prevent the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Similarly, It makes CBD a potential medical solution for stroke patients as well.
CBD’s high antioxidant level may also be beneficial to those who have suffered a stroke. Antioxidants are known for being an excellent source of health and healing in the human body. Certain properties allow antioxidants to counteract cellular oxidation and remove toxins and dead cells from blood vessels. One animal study showed evidence that CBD and other cannabinoids reduce toxicity in neurons and work as neuroprotectants due to their antioxidant characteristics.
CBD’s antioxidant properties have also shown to be effective in blocking a neurochemical called glutamate. Glutamate leads to the accumulation of toxic oxidizing molecules that kill brain cells. It is produced when the brain is deprived of oxygen due to a blood clot or arterial hemorrhage.
Although cannabinoid therapy cannot prevent death from a stroke, it can reduce the amount of the brain that is injured during a stroke. Animal studies show that cognitive functions were better maintained or restored in test subjects that were administered CBD, as opposed to those who were not treated with the compound.
CBD’s ability to increase blood flow may also be beneficial to those recovering from a stroke.
A stroke can cause paralysis and a loss of motor skills. The increased blood flow CBD provides helps patients regain circulation in areas that have been damaged. In combination with physical therapy, it may aid in speeding up recovery.
CBD and Stroke Prevention
CBD can not only be an effective treatment for those trying to recover from a stroke, but it can also be useful in preventing strokes before they occur. Here are a few ways CBD may help prevent strokes.
CBD Prevents Atherosclerosis: Atherosclerosis is a condition where an artery wall thickens and smooth muscle cells appear, resulting in a fatty plaque that can block arterial blood flow and lead to blockages. It is one of the leading causes of stroke and heart disease. Research shows that cannabinoids can be an effective treatment for atherosclerosis because they activate the CB2 receptors which inhibit atherosclerotic plaque progression and help prevent the risk of a stroke.
CBD Helps with Weight Maintenance: Obesity increases the risk of stroke due to inflammation caused by excess fatty tissue, which can lead to a restriction in blood flow and an increased risk of blockage. CBD works to regulate hunger by working with the CB1 receptor to inhibit the production of ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates hunger and appetite. The reduction in ghrelin production helps to reduce appetite, keeping body weight down and working to lower the risk of stroke.
CBD Prevents Plaque Buildup in the Arteries: CBD also works to remove plaque buildup in the arteries. It prevents naturally occurring endocannabinoids from degrading while allowing the body to focus on cleaning out blood vessels to increase blood flow. This reduction of plague helps lower your risk of having a stroke.
CBD Reduces Stress and Anxiety: Stress increases the amount of cortisol produced in your body. This, in turn, raises blood pressure to increase the likelihood of a stroke. CBD works to increase serotonin levels, which provides a calming sensation that can lower blood pressure, decrease stress, and reduce the risk of stroke.
CBD Helps Control Diabetes: Diabetes is a disease that increases your risk of having a stroke. Because people with diabetes have problems producing and using insulin, they end up with an excess of sugar in their blood. This excess blood sugar can contribute to the buildup of clots or fat deposits in blood cells, making a stroke more likely to occur. Diabetes can also make it harder for you to respond to a stroke. When your oxygen supply is cut off, other arteries can serve as a bypass. But when you have diabetes, those other vessels may be hardened or clogged with plaque, making it harder for blood to get to your brain. Research has shown that CBD can help individuals with diabetes better control the disease. CBD receptors are highly prevalent in the pancreas, the organ responsible for insulin production. It has been suggested that the stimulation of CBD receptors provided by external cannabinoids may be linked to insulin production. This could mean that using CBD would cause a reduction of stroke-causing fat deposits and blood clots in cells.
CBD Lowers Cholesterol: High cholesterol increases the risk of blocked arteries. If an artery to the brain becomes blocked, a stroke can occur. Studies have shown that CBD can lower cholesterol. The cannabinoid increases metabolism and allows the body to process calories and burn off fat quicker, decreasing cholesterol levels in the blood. Its high content of omega-3, omega-6, and polyunsaturated fats are also vital for maintaining good heart health and keeping bad cholesterol down.
Someone in the U.S. has a stroke every 40 seconds on average, with the disease accounting for one of every 19 deaths. CBD is an all-natural treatment that may aid in the recovery and prevention of stroke. Explore the world of cannabis to find out how it can protect you or a loved one from this terrible disease and improve your quality of life overall.