Diseases related to heart function, infarcts and various seizures are common and also cause many deaths every year. Cerebral infarctions are largely caused by the same causes as myocardial infarctions, and their effect on a person can be fatal. In this article, we will get to know brain and heart attacks, the endocannabinoid system behind them and whether CBD oil could be of any help in preventing or treating them.
What is a heart attack?
A heart attack is tissue necrosis caused by the blockage of a blood vessel located in the tissue. Such can occur in both the brain and the heart, and about half of the deaths of working-age people in Finland are caused by them.
The incidence of heart attacks has clearly decreased from the 1970s to today, but they are still statistically the single largest cause of death.
A cerebral infarction can occur for a few different reasons. It is most commonly caused by narrowing of the blood vessels and is then a medical attack caused by narrowing of the coronary artery, like a heart attack. Some of the cases are caused by a blood clot, an embolism, that originates in the heart, which sets off and ends up in a small blood vessel or a branch of the vessel, thus blocking the flow of food to the brain. A cerebral infarction can also be caused by a rupture of a cerebral artery, which causes bleeding into the brain. (1)
Cerebral infarction usually occurs suddenly. The most obvious symptoms are unilateral dysfunction of the limbs and drooping of the oral cavity on the same side and weakness of the upper limbs. Usually the symptoms are also accompanied by numbness, muscle weakness and difficulty producing speech. Depending on the location of the cerebral infarction, visual disturbances, double vision, dizziness and confusion are also common, but cerebral infarction is not associated with pain. (1)
Myocardial infarction , i.e. heart attack
A heart attack, i.e. a coronary heart disease attack, is the result of a blockage in the heart’s coronary artery or the detachment of the plaque causing the blockage. A heart attack is always a serious situation requiring treatment, which in the worst case leads to cardiac arrest and death.
A heart attack causes death to the heart tissue even in a few hours, and quick access to treatment is very important. (2,3)
The background of a heart attack is almost always coronary artery disease, i.e. a narrowed coronary artery. The coronary artery is the most important blood vessel located in the heart and it is blocked by e.g. as a result of smoking, heavy alcohol consumption and an unhealthy diet. The stenosis develops slowly, but the moment it finally, usually suddenly, becomes blocked, it causes a heart attack. (2,3)
Preliminary symptoms of a heart attack
The symptom of a heart attack is almost always a sudden, severe chest pain that can radiate to the arm, back, teeth and stomach. Sometimes the symptom can also be more of a squeezing, suffocating feeling in the chest area, which causes severe shortness of breath. (2,3)
A heart attack, more commonly known as a heart attack, is a life-threatening situation that requires immediate treatment, and it is good to know how to recognize it.
Moving may worsen the symptoms, or at least not relieve them. Sometimes, especially for diabetics, the elderly and people with memory problems, pain may not occur at all, but the symptoms are mainly an unpleasant sensation and shortness of breath, headache and nausea. This is known as a silent myocardial infarction. (2,3)
First aid and care
Heart attack treatment is usually started at home or at the latest in the ambulance with anti-blocking and pain-relieving drugs. Beta blockers are used to prevent arrhythmias and lower blood pressure.
After getting to the hospital, either a balloon dilation or a dissolution treatment is usually performed, and within a few days, a bypass operation is also performed, in which the blocked blood vessel is bypassed. (2,3)
Causes of heart attacks?
The underlying causes of both cerebral and myocardial infarctions are largely the same. Old age, smoking, heavy alcohol use, diabetes , obesity, high cholesterol and high blood pressure , but also hereditary factors predisposing to heart attacks have been observed.
Recovery time from heart attacks
Recovering from cerebral infarction and stroke can be a slow process, and depending on the extent of the infarction, it is not always possible to return to the way it was before. Rehabilitation usually starts already in the hospital with a multidisciplinary team and it may continue for years after the heart attack. Rehabilitation usually includes a change in diet in a healthier direction, physical therapy, speech therapy and end-of-life medication. (1)
Recovery from a heart attack and related procedures is usually quick. You can usually return to light work up to a week after surgery, but it is recommended to rest and take it easy for at least a few months after the heart attack and the procedures.
Rehabilitation and recovery time are strongly related to possible lifestyle changes, such as a healthier diet, stopping smoking and alcohol consumption, and increasing exercise. Most often, the background is high blood pressure, narrowed arteries and high cholesterol values, and paying attention to these and careful treatment is especially important. (2,3)
Myocarditis, i.e. inflammation of the heart muscle
Myocarditis is not actually related to heart attacks or a predisposing factor to them, but it is a fairly common inflammatory disease that CBD oil may also help with. Myocarditis is caused by a virus that moves with the bloodstream in the body, etc. which gets into the heart and causes an infection there. Acute myocarditis is the single largest cause of heart failure and sudden cardiac death in people under the age of 35. (4,5)
Myocarditis usually gets better on its own within about a week and it is estimated that all people get it a few times during their life without noticing it. Sometimes the inflammation becomes chronic and causes heart failure. (4,5)
The endocannabinoid system
The endocannabinoid system is a monitoring system for all body processes. It is found in almost all humans and animal species, and its function is both to balance the functions of the body and to take care of the basic things of life such as sleep, eating, memory, relaxation and protecting the body.
The endocannabinoid system includes endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors and the molecules that break them down. None of these are stored, but they are produced where needed, when needed. Several endocannabinoids are known and the most studied of them are anandamide i and 2-AG. On the other hand, only two receptors have been recognized, CB1 and CB2 receptors.
Both endocannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors are abundant in the brain. The CB1 receptor is more common in the brain and has numerous tasks in the processes that are controlled by the brain. For example, in concussions, it has been found that CBD may protect nerves, increase blood flow to the brain, and protect against reactive oxygen species after a concussion! (6)
The endocannabinoid system is also involved in regulating the functioning of the heart and blood circulation and their underlying functions. (7)
Both cannabinoids have numerous functions in brain function and circulatory system, but anandamide may e.g. reduces the salt-induced increase in blood pressure via TRPV receptors and 2-AG affects the dilation of blood vessels. (8)
CBD for heart attack?
The active compounds found in hemp have been extensively studied for decades. One significant group of compounds found in the hemp plant is cannabinoids, of which more than a hundred different types are currently known. One of the most famous of these compounds is cannabidiol or CBD .
CBD acts mainly through non-cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, most commonly through TRPV and serotonin receptors.
In the brain, CBD may increase blood permeability and increase blood flow during a stroke. (9)
CBD has been found in studies to be beneficial for the heart and circulatory system. Research shows that CBD relaxes and dilates blood vessels, protects blood vessels from damage caused by low-grade inflammation, and protects against cardiomyopathy caused by diabetes. (7,8)
Given during and after a seizure, CBD could act as both a seizure-relieving and damage-reducing cannabinoid, but it has also been found to prevent infarction and nerve damage caused by bleeding in both cerebral and myocardial infarctions. (7,8)
In general , CBD oil could be useful in terms of brain and heart health, because according to studies, CBD has e.g. anti-inflammatory , antioxidant, sleep quality improving and appetite balancing effects.
Compatibility between CBD and heart medications?
CBD, has an effect on the breakdown of some medicines and thus also on the effect. The enzyme cytochrome P450 in the liver breaks down both CBD and certain drugs, which is why their combined effect may differ from the drug’s characteristic effect. Medications that are incompatible with CBD are mainly prescription medications, and among these are also a few medications for the treatment of heart, blood pressure, and blood circulation.
Let’s talk about the so-called from the grapefruit test, if the doctor advises you to avoid eating grapefruit with some medicine, the medicine is probably not compatible with CBD either.
In the case of heart-related challenges, there is hardly any reason to avoid using CBD unless you are using medication that may have unwanted interactions with CBD. About the compatibility of medicines you can read more here.
Even today, the most common cause of death is heart attacks, mainly caused by lifestyle. Both heart and cerebrovascular infarcts are usually caused by narrowing of the arteries, either by a final blockage or by the detachment of the plaque that causes the narrowing. Lifestyle has a significant effect in prevention, but CBD oil may also have an effect, at least during the attack, to alleviate the attack and after the attack to reduce the damage.
- Atula S.. 2023. Duodecim health library. Stroke (cerebral infarction and cerebral hemorrhage). https://www.terveyskirjasto.fi/dlk00001. Referenced 2/6/2023.
- Kettunen R.. 2020. Duodecim health library. Myocardial infarction and heart attack. https://www.terveyskirjasto.fi/dlk00086. Referenced 2/6/2023.
- Hekkala AM.. 2019. Heart Association. Heart failure. https://sydan.fi/fakta/sydaninfarki/. Referenced 2/6/2023.
- Cardiol therapeutics. Acute myocarditis. https://www.cardiolrx.com/our-focus/acute-myocarditis/. Referenced 2/6/2023.
- Kettunen R.. 2020. Duodecim health library. Inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis). https://www.terveyskirjasto.fi/dlk00635. Referenced 2/6/2023.
- Singh Jyotpal and Neary JP. 2020. Neuroprotection Following Concussion: The Potential Role for Cannabidiol. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/?term=Neary+JP&cauthor_id=32029015. Referenced 2/6/2023.
- Kicman A. and Toczek M.. 2020. The Effects of Cannabidiol, a Non-Intoxicating Compound of Cannabis, on the Cardiovascular System in Health and Disease. Referenced 2/6/2023
- Stanley C., Hind W and O’Sullivan S.. 2012. Is the cardiovascular system a Therapeutic target for cannabidiol?. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/?term=O %27Sullivan% 20SE %5BAuthor% 5D. Referenced 2/6/2023.
- Montecucco F. and Di Marzo V.. Cell press. At the heart of the matter: the endocannabinoid system in cardiovascular function and dysfunction.