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Stroke

The following information is presented for educational purposes only. Medical Marijuana Inc. provides this information to provide an understanding of the potential applications of cannabidiol. Links to third party websites do not constitute an endorsement of these organizations by Medical Marijuana Inc. and none should be inferred.

Stroke – Medical Marijuana Research Overview

A stroke, previously known medically as a cerebrovascular accident (CVA), is the rapidly developing loss of brain function(s) due to disturbance in the blood supply to the brain. This can be due to ischemia (lack of blood flow) caused by blockage (thrombosis, arterial embolism), or a hemorrhage (leakage of blood). As a result, the affected area of the brain is unable to function, which might result in an inability to move one or more limbs on one side of the body, inability to understand or formulate speech, or an inability to see one side of the visual field.

A stroke is a medical emergency and can cause permanent neurological damage, complications, and death. It is the leading cause of adult disability in the United States and Europe and the second leading cause of death worldwide. Risk factors for stroke include old age, hypertension (high blood pressure), previous stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA), diabetes, high cholesterol, cigarette smoking and atrial fibrillation. High blood pressure is the most important modifiable risk factor of stroke.

A silent stroke is a stroke that does not have any outward symptoms, and the patient is typically unaware they have suffered a stroke. Despite not causing identifiable symptoms, a silent stroke still causes damage to the brain, and places the patient at increased risk for both transient ischemic attack and major stroke in the future. Conversely, those who have suffered a major stroke are at risk of having silent strokes. In a broad study in 1998, more than 11 million people were estimated to have experienced a stroke in the United States. Approximately 770,000 of these strokes were symptomatic and 11 million were first-ever silent MRI infarcts or hemorrhages. Silent strokes typically cause lesions which are detected via the use of neuroimaging such as MRI. Silent stroke are estimated to occur at five times the rate of symptomatic stroke. The risk of silent stroke increases with age but may also affect younger adults and children, especially those with acute anemia.

An ischemic stroke is occasionally treated in a hospital with thrombolysis (also known as a “clot buster”), and some hemorrhagic strokes benefit from neurosurgery. Treatment to recover any lost function is termed stroke rehabilitation, ideally in a stroke unit and involving health professions such as speech and language therapy, physical therapy and occupational therapy. Prevention of recurrence may involve the administration of antiplatelet drugs such as aspirin and dipyridamole, control and reduction of hypertension, and the use of statins. Selected patients may benefit from carotid endarterectomy and the use of anticoagulants

There have been many clinical studies into the benefit of medical marijuana on stroke victims. Read here for more information about those studies.

Does Cannabis Help With Stroke Recovery?

Saturday July 13, 2019

T hanks to decades of prohibition, it’s still nearly impossible to study cannabis effectively in the United States. That means we’re likely decades behind on finding new ways to use cannabis as a medicine. While it’s well-documented that cannabis can be used in a plethora of ways to heal our bodies and improve our lives, the evidence behind cannabis as a tool to treat strokes is still buried and kept hidden. Thankfully, some research can point us to the facts and hopefully, as prohibition ebbs, more research will show what many stroke patients already know: cannabis helps. To be clear though, we are not doctors, and what you read in this article should be not considered medical advice. We’re simply gathering the information and presenting it without any promises or recommendations as to how you should treat a stroke. Always consult your doctor with any questions about your health!

Does Cannabis Help Stroke Patients Recover?

Perhaps the most important thing to know when it comes to cannabis and strokes is that there is a patent held by the United States government that says cannabis does treat strokes. U.S. Patent No. 6630507B1 says that cannabis acts as a neuroprotectant following an ischemic stroke, among other cerebral diseases. Furthermore, this specific patent points to previous patents that have identified cannabinoids as a possible neuroprotectant. These patents include:

Patents Identifying Cannabis as a Neuroprotectant:

  • U.S. Pat. No. 5,538,993
  • U.S. Pat. No. 5,521,215
  • U.S. Pat. No. 5,284,867
  • U.S. Pat. No. 5,434,295

The patent we are discussing here – 6,630,507 – tells us something very important. The patent says, “data shows that infarct size was approximately halved in the animals treated with cannabidiol, which was also accompanied by a substantial improvement in the neurological status of the animal.”

Unfortunately, the patent’s assessment was based on the brains of Rata. As we mentioned, it’s still incredibly difficult to study cannabis in humans who’ve suffered from stroke, but the existence of this patent shows that research into humans will likely show a similar neuroprotectant ability of cannabis. By protecting against glutamate neurotoxicity and free radical induced cell death, cannabis is a promising medicine for treating strokes. In fact, the 50% reduction in infarction size in the rats was compared to other drugs which show no greater than a 2% reduction in infarction.

Why Cannabis?

You might be wondering why cannabis is so effective compared to other stroke medicines. The owners of the patent pointed to the fact that cannabis is highly lipophilic and can easily penetrate deep into the central nervous system. Furthermore, in a study that was published Neuropharmacology in 2012, researchers looked at how ischemic events impacted rats over a long period of time. They indicated that “CBD administration after [hypoxia-ischemia] injury to newborn rats led to long-lasting neuroprotection.” However, they outlined the fact that the positive effects were found in terms of functional improvement as opposed to histological recovery.

Another study that was published in 2007 in the same journal, echoed the findings and the ability of CBD to be of great use when treating ischemia. Hayakawa et al. found that “cannabidiol is a potent antioxidant agent without developing tolerance to its neuroprotective effect, acting through a CB(1) receptor-independent mechanism.” In other words, CBD protects injured brains without having to increase the dose overtime as needed with other cannabinoids, such as THC.

Most interestingly, it seems that our endogenous cannabinoids seem to combat injury to the brain – which may help explain the findings above.

A 2011 study that was published in the British Journal of Pharmacology indicated that “2-AG (an endogenous cannabinoid that is nearly identical to THC) decreases brain edema, inflammation, and infarct volume and improves clinical recovery.” Likewise, the researchers noted the existence of other research, indicating that “numerous studies on experimental models of brain toxicity, neuroinflammation and trauma supports the notion that the eCB are part of the brain’s compensatory or repair mechanisms.” With evidence showing that our endocannabinoid system, along with phytocannabinoids, plays an important role in the health of our brains, is there a recommended way to treat ourselves with cannabis?

The Best Ways to Treat Stroke with Cannabinoids.

Again, this should not be taken for medical advice. Should you want to treat a stroke with cannabis, please consult your doctor first, they will provide you with the best information for your scenario. The patent above does suggest a few ways that cannabinoids should be ingested following an ischemic event:

Suggested Ways to Ingest Cannabis After a Stroke:

  • Via continuous intravenous infusion.
  • Via hourly intramuscular injections.

Unfortunately, ischemic events, including stroke, happen rapidly and the amount of time it would take to get to the hospital may negate these preferred methods. Most people, even cannabis patients, don’t have a bag of IV cannabinoids or needles full of CBD oil lying around their homes. What they have is generally flower, oils, tinctures, and edibles.

Since strokes need to be dealt with quickly, many cannabis specialists recommend consuming cannabis as soon as possible after a stroke. Some recommend ingesting up to a gram of CBD oil, others say it’s best to consume what you have. If it’s an oil take the oil, if it’s dried flower, smoke it or vaporize it ASAP, say some doctors. Dr. David Allen describes in this video how ingesting raw cannabis each day can provide the benefits of cannabis without inducing the psychoactive properties.

While many generally subscribe to the microdosing principal to consume cannabis properly, using it as a medical tool may require a different route. Ischemic events are a serious threat to a person’s health. That’s why a tiny dose of cannabis may not be enough to induce the aforementioned effects. Ideally, you’ll want to speak to a cannabis specialist about what the proper dose would be for you, but Dr. David Allen indicated that he would deliver a full gram CBD oil to one of his family members should they suffer a stroke.

Dr. David Allen is not your doctor and neither is PotGuide; please consult your doctor if you have further questions about using cannabis as a medicine to treat the effects of a stroke.

Many people use cannabis as a medicine for a variety of ailments. But is marijuana a good treatment for people suffering from the effects of a stroke? Learn more about cannabis and stroke recovery, including which cannabinoids and consumption methods might be most beneficial.