According to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Texas at Dallas that was published in the journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, cannabis may significantly reduce the risk of having a stroke. The team, headed by Dr. Francesca Filbey, looked at 175 volunteers, 74 of whom were drug users and 101 non-users, over the course of 60 days and found cannabis improves the flow of blood and oxygen, thereby reducing the risk of clotting and experiencing a stroke. Regular cannabis consumers had greater global oxygen extraction fraction (OEF) and cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen (CMRO2) than non-users. Additionally, cerebral blood flow (CBF) in the putamen, an area of the forebrain associated with learning, was greater in cannabis users than non users.
The study involved administering MRIs to the volunteers and analyzing THC metabolite levels through urinalysis. All participants were required to abstain from drug use for 72 hours leading up to the examination. Those selected as drug-users had consumed cannabis at a minimum of 5,000 times in their lifetime. Dr. Filbey explains, the "primary psychoactive ingredient present in cannabis —tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — relaxes arterial walls resulting in lower blood pressure and increased blood flow to tissues… Past marijuana research has shown changes in cognitive functions such as memory and executive functioning… Our study seeks to understand the possible neurophysiological mechanisms that may drive these cognitive changes.”
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