A new study claims that smoking weed or cannabis can reduce the risk of stroke in a person. Medical strains of the drug are already prescribed across more than half of US to treat chronic pain, anxiety and epilepsy.
The new study, conducted by the University of Texas at Dallas has found that the drug can improve oxygen and blood flow to the brain, reducing the risk of clots that cause brain attacks.
According to the researchers regular cannabis users have the most efficient brain blood flow of all, suggesting that the risk of stroke is lowest in them.
The study builds on previous researchers on marijuana but while they concluded that cannabis slows down memory function, the research, led by Dr Francesca Filbey states that the drug has a positive effect.
Speaking to Daily Mail the lead author said that the study seeks to understand the possible neurophysiology’s mechanisms that may drive cognitive changes.
The property in marijuana called THC is already known to relax blood vessels and alter blood flow to the brain. The new study focussed on how prolonged THC exposure might affect the brain’s blood flow.
They did this by analyzing the differences in regional brain blood oxygenation and metabolism in chronic cannabis users. Filbey and her team concluded that cannabis users show higher global oxygen extraction fraction and cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen compared to non users.
They also saw that blood flow in the putamen, an area of brain associated with reward, learning and habits was more in use than in non users.
Increased blood flow in the putamen may either reflect the capacity of THC to dilate blood vessels or the development of additional circulatory pathways.