October 29 is world stroke day. Did you know that 25% of people worldwide will suffer from a stroke? This subject is near and dear to my heart as my grandma died after suffering 11 strokes, my husband – at the age of 33 – suffered a stroke, and just last night, my beloved grandfather passed from this world due to complications from a stroke. Do CBD and stroke really go hand-in-hand?
What if I had known about CBD?
Stroke affects millions of lives every year. How can CBD help?
It was Easter Sunday and we were driving home from family dinner. My husband was driving and complaining of a headache and blurred vision. I asked if he needed me to drive, and he claimed he was ok. That night, I awoke in the middle of the night to him tossing and turning like a restless child. Irritated, I went downstairs to sleep on the couch.
In the morning, he wouldn’t get up and get ready for work. When he finally did, he was stumbling as if drunk or intoxicated, and couldn’t utter a comprehensible sentence. We had missed the early signs that he was having a stroke.
I’ve never felt the same way before or since then when the doctors announced that my husband, age 33, had suffered an ischemic stroke. He had partial paralysis on the right side of his body and would have to relearn basic tasks – like walking, feeding, bathing, and dressing himself.
I can’t help but wonder how the outcome of this event might have been different if I had known then what I know now about CBD. Furthermore, how would his healing journey have been different if it had been incorporated into his treatment regimen?
Types, causes, and effects of stroke
Also known as a ‘brain attack’ the types, causes, and effects of stroke are varied. However, we do know that strokes are the leading cause of serious long-term disability in the U.S., and that the costs of care after stroke is over 80 billion in the U.S. alone. This is a serious issue.
So much so, that in 2010 there was a study done in Japan that discovered CBD may boost brain function after a stroke, and help prevent victims from brain damage. A 2017 study found that CBD administered during a stroke can increase oxygen and blood flow to the brain in rats. While more studies are needed, the results are promising that CBD therapy may be the wave of the future.
How does CBD help stroke patients recover?
They say when you have a stroke that time lost is brain lost. In the case of my grandmother, she no longer recognized the ones she loved. Every time we saw her she was mentally at a different time period in her life. Once she even told my mom that she was about to get a baby brother – grandma was in her 70’s at the time. That would have been a miracle baby!
When the body is injured, it responds with inflammation. This is the body’s natural defense mechanism in response to trauma. Following a stroke, the brain begins to oxidize, and cytokines are released, which continue to heighten levels of inflammation. When inflammation is an issue for a continued period, your brain cells can take a serious beating.
CBD is a powerful antioxidant that promotes healing throughout the body. When administered after a stroke, it works to lower cytokine levels, counteract oxidation, and prevent the inflammatory immune response. This powerful compound also removed toxins and dead cells from the blood vessels, and promotes healthy circulation, which in turn, can increase the recovery of lost motor skills.
CBD has also been recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as generally safe and well-tolerated, and according to a 2017 study, CBD without THC can be taken without building a tolerance. CBD has also shown to help with mental health and may be beneficial in patients who suffer from depression post-stroke.
The Future of CBD in stroke treatments
If I had known that CBD had such powerful properties as a neuroprotectant, how would life be different? Would these people I loved so dearly have been able to heal faster and recover better?
Unfortunately, we’ll never know.
However, I am hopeful as the CBD movement continues and more research is allowed, that CBD will become a routine part of treatment for those recovering from strokes.