In Canada 50,000 people a year have a stroke, of which ~14,000 are lethal. In fact, having a stroke is the number one cause of adult disability in the country. The residual effects of a survived stroke can be anything from temporary numbness to permanent paralysis. But what causes this awful occurrence?
A stroke can happen when blood flow is restricted to an area of the brain. This causes a lack of oxygen flow and cell death. This damages the brain tissue, most often permanently. Strokes are caused by a weakening of blood vessels either resulting in an aneurysm, blood vessel leak, or blood clot.
Heart health is directly connected to strokes. High blood pressure can lead to a weakening of brain blood vessels or restricted blood flow. So the best way to avoid having a stroke is to exercise, eat right, and smoke cannabis. That’s right, lighting up can actually help your heart!
Although cannabis raises blood pressure temporarily upon initial consumption, a study conducted at the University of Texas at Dallas has found that long-term cannabis use can actually lower blood pressure. A sample of 175 people, 101 cannabis-free, and 74 habitual users were observed over the course of 60 days. The study found that:
The primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), relaxes arterial walls resulting in lower blood pressure and increased blood flow to tissues. In the brain, THC binds to ubiquitous cannabinoid receptors (CB1) that are present in arterial tissue and regulate the microvascular environment via dose-dependent dilation of cerebral arterioles.
In other words, cannabis use increases blood flow, keeping your brain and heart happy.
This new research could potentially lead to effective therapies for high blood pressure. In addition, it challenges the perception that cannabis raises blood pressure indefinitely. Moving forward, we can only hope this information will decrease the amount of strokes that occur each year, and ease the suffering of so many people all around the world.
Shasta Nelson is a California Native and a cannabis connoisseur. She's been involved in the industry at every level since she was a teenager. Currently she provides content for Roottie, DOPE Magazine, and Terpenes and Testing. She's also a creative writer, with a graphic novel underway.