Does Cannabis Help Stroke Victims?

Photo Credit: Whaxy

Photo Credit: Whaxy

A stroke is characterized by the rapid loss of brain function due to a blockage of blood supply. Approximately 15 million people around the world suffer from a stroke every year, of which 18 percent do not survive. Whaxy talks about the origins and effects of strokes, saying "Leading causes of strokes are high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, a weak heart, and simply the accumulated wear and tear of age. For those who survive a stroke, symptoms include difficulty speaking or full loss of speech, memory impairments, motor (movement) issues, challenges in writing, and even changes in personality." There are three major types of strokes, categorized as Ischemic, Hemorrhagic, and Transient Ischemic. The symptoms that indicate a stroke is occurring include numbness or weakness in the face or extremities, confusion, difficulty speaking, difficulty seeing, difficulty moving, dizziness, or random headaches. 

There is little research on the use of cannabis as a treatment option for stroke victims, but what studies exist are promising and worth further investigating. A 1998 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences investigated the use of CBD on rats, and found that cannabinoids were effective in protecting the brain from damage inflicted by a stroke by blocking a neurochemical compound called glutamate, which causes an accumulation of toxic oxidizing molecules that kill brain cells. In addition, CBD did not deliver unwanted psychoactive effects. 

A study analysis published in Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism in 2014 examined 144 different studies conducted on various animal species that involved the administration of some form of cannabinoid therapy. The analysis determined that while cannabinoid therapy was unable to prevent death in animals that suffered from a stroke, it was able to reduce the area of the brain that was injured from the stroke. In addition, those that received cannabinoid therapy either had better maintained or restored cognitive function. 

Cannabis has also acted as an effective agent in preventing stroke by treating Atherosclerosis, one of the leading causes of strokes and heart disease. Cannabis further acted as a preventative agent by decreasing the severity of strokes. Dr. David Allen, a former heart surgeon, cited a 2003 government patent that claims the administration of cannabinoids prior to a stroke decreases its severity by 50 percent. Allen says, "No other chemical decreases the size of a stroke by even two percent. So this is like a miracle that it does this."

Read a more in depth look at the studies that exist on cannabinoid therapy for stroke victims on Whaxy.