Marijuana promotes brain cell growth? Here is how cannabis can cure stroke

We know that marijuana promotes brain cell growth, but can cannabis cure strokes? We've looked closer at the relationship between weed and stroke.

A new study performed in Shanghai has recently come forward on how CBD positively affects brain ischemia, which is associated with stroke. The study describes how cannabis can potentially promote brain cell growth. It is important to note that a 2014 study published in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism was the basis of this research and is to be described to better understand how cannabis can have this effect of stroke victims.

Learning the Facts

Data from 144 experiments and 34 publications showed how cannabinoids helped promote brain cell growth and repair dead brain tissue from 1,473 animals that suffered a stroke. When blood cannot travel to the brain, the tissue dies and a stroke occurs. According to the American Heart Association, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death among all people in the United States, and approximately 140,000 Americans die from it each year.

Understanding approximately 795,000 people in the U.S. have a stroke, the 2014 meta-analysis study focused on cannabis and cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) as a potential treatment for stroke victims.

CB1 and CB2

As a quick summary, CB1 receptors act within neurons and the association between brain signals and neurotransmitters. When you feel an emotion or a memory, one neuron recognizes this feeling and communicates it to another neuron in one direction, like a one-way street that delivers messages through the central nervous system. CB2 receptors are located more so inside the immune system and found in white blood cells. In theory, CB2 receptors aide white blood cells in fighting off infection in the body.  

The study found that CB2 receptors changed the inflamed brain tissue that occurred after the test animals had a stroke while CB1 receptors brought about a chemical hypothermia. Just as white blood cells increase at the area of infection to fight off bacteria, so does CB1 and CB2 receptors increase in the brain after ischemia. This discovery shows that the endocannabinoid system may have an important role in the response to stroke.

“This meta-analysis of preclinical stroke studies provides valuable information on the existing, and more importantly, missing data on the use of cannabinoids as a potential treatment for stroke patients,” said Dr. Tim England, lead researcher of the study in a Nottingham Post article.

Restore, Repair, Rejuvenate

Many after-effects of stroke are due to the dead brain tissue (infarct) from the decreased blood flow to the brain (ischemia). Because parts of the brain can no longer control parts of the body, paralysis sets in. Decreased motor skills, weakness and partial or complete paralysis are the main after-effects of stroke. This meta-analysis of CB receptors promoting the repair of brain cell growth and potentially reversing these after-effects would be life changing.

Dr. Madina Kara, a neuroscientist at the Stroke Association, was quoted in the same 2013 article saying human trials would be “under discussion” in the near future, but no such trials have surfaced, yet.

Though stroke is a major killer in the U.S., there are other areas of exploration in the medical cannabis field, including PTSD, Crohn’s disease, arthritis and chronic pain. Many cannabinoids, like THCV and THCA, are still in the beginning stages of research. Research like marijuana promoting brain cell growth and gaining a better understanding of the plant, the more likely we can prove its beneficial properties.

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