Stroke & CBD

When administered shortly after a stroke, CBD has shown it can protect the brain’s neurons and astrocytes from damage, leading to an improved functional, histological, biochemical, and neurobehavioral recovery.

While most of the studies on CBD’s benefits for stroke are animal trials, their findings are promising. Mice and rat trials have shown that CBD reduces infarct volume and acute and apoptotic brain damage when it’s administered shortly after an ischemic brain event. Findings in one study have even suggested that CBD administered before a stroke could offer potent and long-lasting neuroprotection.

In a 2008 study, piglets given CBD shortly after an ischemic attack were able to recover their brain’s electrical activity to 46.4 percent of their baseline and only 4 out of 8 experienced seizures. The piglets that did not receive CBD after the loss of blood flow recovered 20.5 percent of their brain’s decreased electrical activity and all experienced seizures. Overall, CBD caused a 50 percent increase in the recovery of electrical activity in the brain and a 50 percent reduction in seizures.

CBD’s neuroprotective properties following a stroke have been shown in human trials as well. In 2015, researchers found that cannabinoids administered to humans shortly after a stroke was effective at reducing infarct volume and eliciting significant improvements in both early and late brain activity scores. The investigators concluded that CBD improved functional outcome.

Studies suggest that CBD helps protect the brain after a stroke by inhibiting the processes that cause brain cells to die. Following a stroke, the brain experiences an increase in excitotoxicity, oxidative stress, and inflammation, which leads to temporary and permanent brain cell damage. When given shortly after a stroke, CBD has shown to effectively inhibit all three of these alterations.