Cannabis Assists Stroke Recovery

twenty20_b2cce542-33de-44c1-97fa-1bb91b05d435-2.jpg

The Facts of a Stroke

Strokes are the nation’s 5th largest killer and affect approximately 800,000 people each year.  A stroke occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is disrupted. Upon disruption, brain cells that are deprived of vital oxygen and/or glucose can die. This interruption can cause permanent brain damage and in some cases, death.

There are two types of strokes: ischemic and hemorrhagic. An ischemic stroke accounts for about 87% of all strokes and occurs due to clotting in the brain’s blood vessels, ceasing blood from reaching the brain. Ischemic strokes can be brought on by high blood pressure. The second type of stroke is a hemorrhagic stroke. This type of stroke is less common and makes up about 13% of all strokes. However, hemorrhagic strokes are responsible for about 40% of all stroke deaths. Hemorrhagic strokes occur when a blood vessel within the brain ruptures. The blood then spills into or around the brain, creating pressure and damaging cells. High blood pressure is an important risk factor for increasing your chances of having a stroke, but atrial fibrillation may increase the risk of a stroke by 5x. Therefore, strokes do not discriminate against age, and in fact, nearly a quarter of strokes occur in persons under the age of 65.  The surviving effects can result in paralyzation, degraded motor and memory skills, and more if not treated properly.

Cannabis Helps to Repair and Prevent Further Brain Injury Caused By Strokes

Various research and studies are continuing to expand as more and more tests yield positive results for cannabis as an effective neuroprotectant against brain and stroke trauma. And scholarly papers dating back as early as 1998 suggested that cannabinoids, cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), protect equally well against neurotoxicity mediated by certain receptors. Neurotoxicity occurs when excess toxins accumulate in neurological tissue throughout the body, causing the brain and nervous system to function improperly. Symptoms mimic a number of other conditions, including, but not limited to, chronic fatigue syndrome, ADD/ADHD, recurrent sinus troubles, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and others. Neurotoxicity is triggered in a stroke due to the lack of oxygen attributed to the buildup of metabolites in blood vessels that service the brain.

Studies show that the aforementioned receptors are calcium-dependent. During an ischemic stroke, large quantities of glutamate neurotransmitters are released, causing an overstimulation of N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors (NMDAr), 2-amino-3- (4-butyl-3-hydroxy isoxazole-5-yl) propionic acid (AMPA) and kainate-type receptors. This results in metabolic stress, causing an accumulation of intracellular calcium that becomes toxic to the body’s cells. Studies have demonstrated how neurotoxicity can be reduced by antioxidants or antagonists to NMDAr and AMPA/kainate receptors. That’s where cannabis comes into play. These studies, therefore, serve as one of many examples of why routine detox is not only healthy but may help add years to a patient’s or consumer’s life.

Cannabinoids have been shown to prevent glutamate neurotoxicity by turning on cannabinoid receptors, thereby reducing the calcium influx. Particularly, cannabidiol (CBD), a component of the marijuana plant Cannabis sativa, does not turn on cannabinoid receptors and thereby doesn't produce psychoactive effects seen in THC. Cannabidiol doesn’t activate the cannabinoid receptor but DOES protect neurons from death by glutamate neurotoxicity. Additionally, although butylhydroxytoluene (BHT), used in stroke medications, are linked to promoting tumors, cannabidiol has no such link. Studies have also shown that cannabidiol is not toxic, making it a great potential treatment for strokes. CBD is most promising for treating stroke victims due to its neutrality on cannabinoid receptors, which alleviates undesired psychotropic feelings of experiencing the often noted cannabis “high.”

Cannabis and its Powerful Antioxidant Compounds for the Human Body

CBD, THC, and accompanying phytocannabinoids have been proven to protect neurons from glutamate-induced cell death. Cannabis not only serves as a powerful antioxidant to assist with cancer relief, but many researchers and medical professionals have noted the power of cannabis to optimize cellular communication throughout the body as an effective neurogenerative and neuroprotectant. This means that cannabis can help repair, build, and protect neurons. While the War On Drugs attempted to falsely claim that cannabis kills brain cells, science has proven the opposite time and time again. Combined with the fact that CBD does not produce a psychotropic experience, this makes cannabis a powerfully effective holistic aid in stroke recovery for the 75% of senior patients (65+) that are affected by stroke.

How You Can Use Cannabis to Prevent Stroke

It’s important to note that diet and nutrition in addition to responsible cannabinoid consumption may reduce the risk of stroke. The right fruits and vegetables combined with physical exercise help to maintain healthy brain oxygen levels and blood flow. Stroke discussions are very serious and there are a number of other considerations that should be discussed with your healthcare provider should you exhibiting symptoms or fear certain risk factors. And for those who wish to utilize the natural healing properties of cannabis, there are various methods to responsibly consume cannabis of which include juicing raw/decarboxylated cannabis flower in smoothies, smoking or vaping, eating edibles, applying topicals, and more. It’s just a matter of choosing a responsible method of consumption with proper dosing that fits you or your loved ones’ needs. Many patients and consumers have safe and convenient access to the benefits of responsible cannabinoid consumption. And our supporting medical professionals and physicians at James Henry SF advocate for independent patient research to discover the therapeutic power of cannabis, which incorporates optimizing your health through a therapeutic lifestyle.