A stroke results when blood flow to the brain is blocked or limited, which causes the brain tissue to become deprived of nutrients and oxygen and kills brain cells. Stroke can be asymptomatic, and some may not know they have suffered one, but some signs include slurred speech, confusion, numbness or paralysis in the face, arm, or leg, sudden blurred or blackened vision, sudden headaches, nausea, and trouble walking. Following a stroke, seizures, paralysis, difficulty swallowing or talking, memory loss, emotional problems, and pain may develop. When one side of the brain is damaged, the opposite side of the body's sensation and movement could be affected. Studies have found marijuana use directly following a stroke limits brain damage and enhances recovery by protecting neurons and astrocytes from damage, which leads to better functional, histological, biochemical, and neurobehavioral recovery.
Most information regarding the neuroprotective effects of CBD can be found in animal trials. In one, piglets received CBD shortly after an ischemic attack, and they were able to recover their brain's electrical activity to 46.4% of their baseline, and only four of eight piglets experienced seizures. Of piglets who did not receive CBD, only 20.5% of their brain's electrical activity was recovered and all of them experienced seizures. In rodent trials, CBD reduced infarct volume and acute and apoptotic brain damage when administered shortly after an ischemic brain event. Another study found CBD use before and after a stroke provided long-lasting and potent neuroprotective benefits. Additionally, CBD use following a stroke reduces the excitoxicity, oxidative stress, and inflammation in the brain that follows a stroke. In one human trial, cannabinoids administered after a stroke reduced infarct volume and resulted in improved brain activity scores. The benefits of CBD are significantly better when the cannabinoid is administered directly following a stroke. One animal study found repeated CBD treatment within 1-3 days of the ischemic event increased survival and brain function, whereas treatment after 5 days of the stroke did not reduce damage.
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