You can never be prepared for a stroke; They come without warning and the results are usually devastating. In most cases, there is usually irreparable damage to the brain causing problems such as paralysis, speech problems, and diminished mental ability. Every cloud has a silver lining; new research has shown that CBD treatment for ischemic stroke is effective and can offer hope to thousands of people who are effected by this malady.
A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted leading to a deprivation of oxygen and nutrients and eventually death of brain cells. If it is prolonged, it may lead to serious brain injury or death. (In fact, stroke causes the death of 130,000 people every year in the U.S alone.)
What is an ischemic stroke?
There are two main types of stroke; ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke. Ischemic stroke is the most common accounting to 87% of all strokes according to Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC). Ischemic stroke occurs when there is a blockage of blood vessels that supply the brain. This could be caused by a clot formed within the brain which is called thrombotic, or a embolic when the clot is formed away from the brain.
A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when an artery supplying the brain ruptures and bleeds into the brain. This cuts off the brain’s supply of oxygen and important nutrients causing brain injury. Even not as common as ischemic stroke, it is a leading cause of disability in the U.S
How is ischemic stroke treated?
Even though the cases of ischemic stroke are on the increase, the intervention of modern medicine. Unfortunately, quick action is required because the brain cells are very sensitive. In fact, the brain can only survive for six minutes without oxygen, it will gradually begin to die. It is difficult for brain cells to regenerate meaning injured or dead brain cells cannot be repaired. Therefore if someone suffers a stroke, there is a very high chance that they will suffer some disability. However, patients who receive attention within three hours of a stroke develop less disability 3 months later than those who took more time before receiving medical help.
There are two main methods used in the treatment of ischemic stroke.
1. Tissue plasminogen indicator
2. Endovascular procedures
Tissues plasminogen indicator.
This method is known as TPA. It aims at improving blood flow in the affected brain region by dissipating the clot. It is administered intravenously and increases the chances of recovery if given within 3 hours. (After that time has lapsed it might not be relied upon.)
This is a mechanical method in which doctors try to remove a blood clot from the brain by inserting a catheter through an artery in the lower body region and try to reach the blocked artery and then trap the clot. It can only be used within six hours of the symptoms and patients must meet a certain criteria before this procedure can be done.
Are these methods effective?
Except in the instances of mild stroke, many patients never fully recover even with endovascular procedures or TPA. There is emphasis on palliative care to try and make the patients comfortable and to improve their quality of life.
CBD treatment for ischemic stroke
According to new research conducted by scientists from Fukuoka University, in Japan, a compound found in cannabis called cannabidiol can provide a potential treatment option. The study published in a medical journal pharmaceuticals explains that cannabidiol (CBD) a non-psychoactive component of cannabis has therapeutic potential.
CBD therapeutic potential
Cannabidiol, which is one among several important elements in cannabis can lead to recovery in ischemic stroke and other chronic diseases including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. It has powerful cerebral blood flow increasing properties which helps prevent brain damage by ensuring that the brain gets plenty of oxygen and nutrients to restore normal functioning.
The research explains further that CBD improves motor recovery after the onset of an ischemic stroke. A stroke can lead to paralysis and partial loss of motor skills. This means that almost every activity that includes the use of muscles will be impaired. This includes walking, lifting, writing, speaking etc. In some cases patients will have urinary incontinence. Cannabidiol seems to help the brain connect better with muscles even after injury.
According to another study published by the “Journal of neurochemistry,” CBD and Canabinoids activate cannabinoid receptors and have shown neuro-protection. This means that they can protect the nerve cells from degeneration substantially reducing the size of a stroke. It may also result in the restoration of the cells and structure of the nervous system.
Additional benefits of CBD treatment for ischemic stroke
1.Treatment with CBD does not result to tolerance. Tolerance is a situation where the body adapts to a drug after continued use which reduces the response to the treatment. This means that the same dose of the drug can be used for long periods of time without losing its efficiency.
2. Their neuro protective action is receptor independent. Their cerebro protective action is long lasting. An ischematic stroke causes the death of neurons and other brain cells. CBD offers continued protection to neurons from injury or death. Neurons are specialized cells that send and receive messages. They transmit messages through electrical or chemical signals.
3. They have anti-oxidant effect
Oxidation is a process that produces free radicals which can be harmful to body cells including brain cells. An anti-oxidant prevents the oxidation of nearby molecules and counteracts oxidative stress. CBD prevents the destruction of cells and maintains a healthy internal operating environment.
Another recent study published in the journal “life science” show that cannabinoids reverse damage and enhance memory retention after a stroke.
The way forward
People have a right to quality medical care and every effort should be made to treat and prevent diseases that affect us. Ischemic stroke is one of the major causes of disability in the U.S and other parts of the world. CBD treatment provides hope and can be a viable, promising treatment option for those affected by ischemic stroke.