Cannabis Usage Linked to Lower Stroke Risk

In light of Stroke Month, let’s delve into cannabinoid research, and its effect on stroke prevention and treatment.

Many studies have been done on the effects of cannabis use, and the link to stroke risk. As part of The Stroke Prevention in Young Adults Study, researchers from the University of Maryland assessed past marijuana users among 751 stroke cases and 813 controls.

The study ran for 16 years, and the results presented that those who has used marijuana were less likely to suffer a stroke. Only 28.8% of stroke patients reported marijuana use, which is statistically significant.

The results were later shared at the American Academy of Neurology’s 66th Annual Meeting. Although the results were substantial, more large scale studies are required before a concrete link can be proven.

Lead researcher and presenter Tara Dutta, MD, of the University of Maryland School of Medicine states, “We don’t suspect that this implicates a protective effect of marijuana on ischemic stroke risk. We will go back and look at our data more carefully and do some additional analyses to see if we can look for potential confounders.”

Cochair Jennifer Majersik, MD, of the University of Utah, rebutted, saying the study “should be reassuring” to people who smoked marijuana in the 1960s or 1970s, adding that Baby Boomers have yet to show any negative marijuana-associated effects. The public and patient interest is enough of a solid foundation to build more research on the topic.

In 2013, researchers at the University of Nottingham analyzed cannabinoids role in reducing the severity of stroke and improving patient outcomes, and the results were promising. The therapeutic compounds presented by cannabinoids and endocannabinoids bind to the body’s marijuana pathways, which may offer protection against post-stroke injury due to their “potent anti-inflammatory” effects. Discoveries such as these provide an optimism for further research on the subject.

Some previously researched factors on stroke inducing influences include but are not limited to:

  • Tobacco

  • Alcohol use

  • History of diabetes and hypertension (abnormally high blood pressure)

  • Atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the arteries)

  • Obesity

Know the signs of a stroke, act FAST:

fast-stroke-signs

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