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Medical Marijuana and Stroke

By on April 18, 2013

Summary (click to view)

  • Stroke is caused by a lack of blood flow to the brain
  • Stroke often leads to death or permanent disability
  • Cannabinoids can reduce brain damage and inflammation when given after a stroke
  • Cannabinoids can also reduce atherosclerosis (blood vessel damage), which is a common cause of stroke
  • Human trials have yet to be conducted, but researchers are calling for further studies
  • – Stroke is a disease that is as common as it is debilitating. Every year, approximately 15 million people suffer from stroke worldwide. Sadly, 5 million of these people die and another 5 million become permanently disabled.

    In the United States, someone suffers from a stroke every 40 seconds.

    But while heart disease remains a major public health crisis in countries around the world, recent evidence suggests that marijuana can improve the outcomes of both atherosclerosis – a major risk factor for stroke – as well as the brain damage caused by stroke itself.

    What Is Stroke?

    Stroke is defined as a rapid loss of brain function caused by a lack of blood flow to the brain. This may result from internal bleeding of the brain – known as a hemorrhage – or a blockage of blood flow somewhere in the body – known as ischemic stroke.

    Among the various mechanisms involved with the progression of post-stroke symptoms is the inflammatory response of the immune system. Inflammation is a major concern in stroke patients, as it can lead to the release of various toxic molecules, which can induce further brain damage as well as disrupt the blood-brain barrier.

    How Can Marijuana Help?

    The endocannabinoid system – made up of the body’s own cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors – is responsible for a variety of biological functions relevant to stroke. Specifically, the endocannabinoid system has been found to regulate inflammation, brain cell survival and blood flow.

    THC and CBD – the most common cannabinoids found in medical marijuana – are known to reduce inflammation by acting on the cannabinoid receptors of immune cells. Cannabinoid receptors are found in numerous parts of the body and also happen to be expressed by a number of immune cells found in the brain, including astrocytes and microglia. Furthermore, recent studies show that cannabinoid receptors are over expressed by neurons and immune cells of the brain upon stroke-induced inflammation, which has led scientists to directly investigate the use of cannabinoids in treating symptoms of stroke.

    In a study published in 2012, researchers found that administering JWH-133 – a synthetic cannabinoid that acts on CB2 receptors – to animal models of stroke could reduce overall brain damage and neurological impairments. While JWH-133 was given 10 minutes after the stroke in the study, other studies have found cannabinoids to still be effective when administered up to 3 hours later.

    Besides reducing inflammation, cannabinoids are also believed to reduce brain damage by increasing the survival of neurons. Interestingly, research shows that levels of anandamide and 2-AG – cannabinoids produced naturally by the body – accumulate at an exponential rate in areas of the brain affected by stroke. These findings suggest that the endocannabinoid system may be a part of the body’s natural defense system against strokes.

    Lastly, cannabinoid research seems to support the use of medical marijuana for treating atherosclerosis, which is one of the most common causes of stroke as well as other heart diseases. Studies (Rajesh et al., 2007 and Steffens et al., 2005) show that both THC and CBD can act to protect blood vessels from damage caused by a variety of factors, including a high-glucose diet.

    What This Means For Your Health

    While there is strong evidence of the effectiveness of cannabinoids – specifically those that act on CB2 receptors – in reducing the brain damage and impairments caused by stroke, research still has yet to be conducted on humans. Even still, experts have clearly stated their position on this emerging field of medicine.

    “Evidence from animal models and in vitro studies suggests a global protective role for cannabinoid receptors agonists in ischemic stroke… both synthetic cannabinoids and endocannabinoids represent extremely promising therapeutic compounds.”

    Excerpt from Update on the Role of Cannabinoid Receptors after Ischemic Stroke (2012)

    Such promise has even led some doctors to recommend a daily dose of marijuana as an alternative to traditional anti-inflammatories like aspirin. According to former heart surgeon Dr. David Allen, positive evidence from animal studies provides enough support for patients to consider medical marijuana as an effective treatment regimen for their condition.

    Dr. David Allen’s interview with Fox News

    Today, researchers continue to call for further studies to be conducted, providing hope that medical marijuana’s potential as a treatment for stroke may be evaluated in humans at some point in the future.

    • Paul Gribbin

      Hi , I had a stroke 7 month ago iam 44yr , and smoke cannabis without tobacco, it has certainly helped with the spasticity and thus my balance and walking, no problems

      • TruthOnPotcom

        That’s great to hear! Goes to show that good medicine doesn’t need clinical trials to show that it can help people

        • Jeanette Spaur

          I’m 25 and had a stroke 1 year ago I’M TOO YOUNG!!

          • Daniel Albert

            I agree i had a stroke when i was 19 I’m 20 atm it’s crazy i always thought that i was invincible till it happened.

          • Gerardo Boza

            I had a stroke 3 month ago im 47 and yes I felt Invincible not anymore. I hope you feel better each day positive, be patient and thankful



      • Bill Smyth

        i’m 54 and had a stroke 2 yrs ago – we are both too young. It has def helped..

        • PPK

          Bill,you say it has helped, please could you say how it helped. did you take the hemp oil capsules or did you smoke the cannabis straight up

      • Ron

        I guess is depend on what type of marijuana you smoke. Considering that there has been research stating that marijuana link to increase the risk in stroke…

        • CannaBliss420

          If you look into those studies you’ll see that they aren’t scientifically sound. They prove that a high percentage of people who had a stroke tested positive for marijuana use on a urine test, meaning they had cannabis in their system at some time in the past month or so. The test does not prove that cannabis was present in their system at the time of the test nor at the time of the stroke and none of the data proves any relation at all between cannabis use and strokes. It does prove that a high percentage of people secretly enjoy marijuana! :)
          Scare tactics yo.

      • Simba Jahi

        Can we stay in touch

      • Terry Cooksey

        How are you doing now? How often and how much do you smoke? Do you think it is still helping?

    • Jessica Ebey

      My 30 year old husband had a massive stroke on 09/28/2013. He is walking but has little use of his left wrist and hand. He has asthma as well. Could cannibus help him at all? Either by vaporizing or oil?

      • Buttstuff

        That’s my birthday.

      • james

        I would not recommend it because of his asthma but edibles are great

        • koneknows

          Marijuana helps with asthma. It opens up the passage way of the lungs. This is a fact. Stephen Harper is a proven fact of the ignorance associate with Marijuana.
          Also, You don’t have to smoke marijuana to get the benefits from it. Take the hemp oil orally.

      • Steven Benoit

        I have asthma and it seem to increase my breathing capacity by 20 – 30% depending on the strain and when in the cycle it was harvested. It is also controlling my crohns disease and my seizure disorder.

    • stroke20

      MY dad had a stroke 7 years ago, he can walk ok but not great with a cane.

      He basically lost the use of the left side, but still has movement and pain.

      Has anyone tried this that has had a stroke for a longer span of time, than 2 years.

      my dad is 83 now but wants to be more self sufficient, and have less pain.


      • James

        Sorry to hear about your Dad because of his age I would consider maybe not smoking it because of his lungs but try eating or drinking it there are great edibles now. It’s helped me.

    • bill

      I had a stroke 11/21/2010 that left me paralized on my left side .I cant lift my arm above my shoulder, and I cant walk, I am also blind in the left side of my left eye,can this help

      • Steven Carrillo

        You never know until you try sir.

      • djt

        It can. Also, learn about why it can help — that also helps the healing. The mind is powerful. Cannabinoids regulate the mind and is even responsible for the mind itself!

    • tj

      Ive heard about reversible cerebral vasoconstriction caused by cannabis?

    • tom

      I’ve been reading about thc causing vasoconstriction, could that be from the rats having no tolerance.

      • djt

        I’ve read that THC causes vasodilation! This is obvious because of the natural endocannabinoid mechanism within the vascular system. Cannabinoids maintain homeostasis in ALL ANIMALS. In fact, cannabinoids are the main factor for EVOLUTION IN ALL ANIMALS! The more evolved an animal, the more cannabinoid activity is seen.

        THIS IS UNREAL!!! Please get this miracle plant available for everyone with strokes as cannabinoids are responsible for neurogenesis, neuroplasticity, and neuroprotection, as well as anti-inflammatory, and more!!!

    • Stroke17

      Hi I’m 22 years old, I’ve had a stroke 3years ago a few days after I had my baby, I went outside to smoke some pot & when I get inside my room I couldn’t talk I was mumbling like I knew what I wanted to say in my head it just couldn’t come out of my mouth & I even forgot how to spell my name or anything !, it’s a scary experience !, I was in the hospital for 3 months after that I never touched pot again now today I feel great I get anxiety here and their about strokes cause I’m scared to have another, I still get mixed up in my words but hey time heals right ?!, and I also went half blind in my left eye, my vision isn’t all that good still but I learned to cope with it, I can see in full now but when a look at something in a row I can only see the first 2-3 in their was 4-6 items in a row

      • Terry Cooksey

        How much did you smoke?

      • nope

        that wasnt pot you smoked

        just saying

      • Tara

        I had 2 strokes 3 weeks apart because a doctor was trying to murder me by taking the bp meds away. I had a left brain stroke and was not talking well for 3 weeks, with NO HELP I then had another stroke and when I picked up my bible I couldn’t read it, but I saw “David” in the middle of the page. I drove my self to the hospital & a month later when I had to refill prescriptions from the hospital she cut my major script in half & did NOT tell me. 2 weeks later I was out & she REFUSED TO GIVE ME ANY MEDS! she WAS TRYING AGAIN! You see I photographed The Moses vessel now back in Israel to be part of the rebuilding of the temple.. The vessel is “The Holy Grail” King David drew a sword in it. This was the sword in the stone that the evil ones had been looking for because it is the CROWN Vessel that when Nimrod had it he was king of the world. Well sorry to say Obama has had it for 7 years now.
        Before I started to research cannabis The Lord told me that He used it to save my life. Now I know why & how it works. my name is Tara send me a message on my ‘you tube channel’ FireOrWater1 & God bless you & yours

    • tjbrown

      I had a stroke in December 2015 I’m 26 and I live in Oklahoma. My doctor said I need to stop using cannabis all together. I’m now taking prescription medicine 9pills a day every day and I am not myself on the meds which have their own side effects. My vision was nearly non existent after the stroke it has come back for the most part but I hate these pills. Now they want me to take cumidin?! A hard core blood thinner with extreme side effects and risks involved. I would like to move to a place where I can get effective natural treatment but I need to know it is possible. Does anybody have any links or information that may help me?

      • james

        tj doctors will say anything that’s not in their best interest’s. Everything should be done in moderation. I had a stroke in November 2014 it’s been almost a year now I was totally paralyzed on the left side 3 months in rehab great staff very lucky i can walk totally and speak and see fine. I’ve been smoking weed for most of my life basically since 7th grade I’m 48 yrs old. The reason I had a stroke was I had a bad heart since birth and had a Mitral heart valve replacement which I had to take cumidin and still do but it wasn’t the weed that cause the stroke actually the doctor said it probably helped in my fast recovery I’m back at work as a building manager which is physically demanding I still don’t have %100 of my left side but it’s close to maybe %85
        I found that smoking or eating marijuana triggered activity in my thought process after the stroke and influenced creativity and ambition.
        Hope things get better but If I had to say Marijuana is a miracle wonder there is no better substance on the planet that has the same amount benefits as Marijuana and no Doctor in the world can disprove this, there are children with severe seizures I’m talking 100 seizures a day and CBD in marijuana has reduced this by like 95%. My advice is do the research get the facts.
        Good luck

    • Silkfeather

      I have been taking CBD and smoking for migraines for over 10 years after ending up in ICU for 6 days with an enlarged heart because I vomited for over 24 hours, I could not keep down any meds. So I thought after my uncle had a stroke, why not, can’t hurt. Well not only did it not hurt, but he went from having a wheel chair to walking with a cain or walker depending on him. He has stopped taking insulin all together after over 30 years. My cousin his daughter kept seeing his sugar levels changing and she kept lowering it, before she knew it he was off his insulin altogether. The CBD has been amazing for him for his brain and his body. The marijuana has saved me, there have been times when I have spent hours in a dark bedroom praying for my headache to go away. The only thing that saved me has been the marijuana and the CBD. Study it before you buy anything, don’t buy any marijuana from someone that does not test it for chemicals. In other words make sure you go to a real Dr. and get a script so when you are buying the pot you are buying something that is safe. Hopefully you live in a state that allows Medical Marijuana, if not, maybe it’s time to get involved, because there really are a lot of us out here that do need to use this medicine. Israel, Australia, Portugal, France & England just to name a few are studying marijuana, but here we are sitting on our hands because of a guy back in the late 1930′ because he hated Mexicans and blacks and believe me he did not put it in those terms. Do a little digging into old history 1937-39, Harry Anslinger, Marijuana was a medicine until Harry got his hands on it. It became outlawed because he knew African-american and Mexicans were smoking the DEVIL’s WEED as he called it.



      • Jeanette Spaur

        This is my stroke date except 2014

      • Daniel Albert

        Look into supplementation that helps with nitric oxide production such as co-q10. I’m also doing LED light therapy which got rid of my headaches !! my look at supplements that help that help glutathione production such as NAC powder. fish oil and hemp oil help too. Doctors treat the disease and never the cause go speak with a nutritionist and/or naturopath they will be much more helpful than a doctor.

      • Beth Winstead

        Larry did you live in Sterling Illinois This is Beth Boyer, been looking for you FOREVER! if it is I am so sorry to hear about your stroke. Scott and I say hello. Get in contact with us. I am on FB under both my maiden name and also Winstead

      • John Matsukes

        Yes try! it will help 100%!

    • Tierra Petersen

      Can anyone recommend the best type of feed for a stroke patient? And how much? my mothers doctors dont support medical marijuana, since it’s through the state (even though we live in washington). My mom consumes large quantites of edibles and I fear its not reacting well with the 10 different meds shes on now.

    • rolly casimiro

      i had stroke back in 2013 left side paralize , am doinng well on my recovery. and cousin of mine told me about why dont you try using madical Marijuana . am 41 . he told me check this site . i hope i can read more about this . thanks

    • Reagan

      Has anyone had any success using cannibus for aphasia caused from a stroke? My mom had a stoke about 18 months ago. Therapy has been little help, though she continues to try extremely hard. There has to be something else we can try.

    • Zenat

      I had an ischematic stroke when i was 14 (I’m 20 now) that caused me to lose half of the movement in my right arm, speech, and balance Again (atleast twice a year) for the next 3-4 years. There is a risk of me having another one and this time it will be more severe. I have depression and chronic pain from my headaches. I have been taking a mixture of compazine, ibeprofen, and benadryl to “stop” my headaches but unfortunately i abused this cocktail too much because my migraines are so severe.. The doctor’s stopped me on every headache medicine because i have been on Maxalt, Immatrex, Verapamil, and Topamax (Topimarate) and one of those caused a stroke for me.. No advil, motrin, neproxen (just nsaids in general) in the world works for me. I’ve been dabbling in the world of narcotics for help but i’m scared of addiction because it runs in my family. I can’t take ibeprofen anymore cuz it caused internal bleeding for me and they stopped me from taking aspirin cuz i was bleeding way too severely. I have been in and out of hospitals since i was 14. I just want a happy medium where i don’t have to take pills that harm my liver or my insides.. Would medical marijuana be recommended for me in my situation?