Atherosclerosis is a medical condition which is characterized by hardening and narrowing of the arteries. This condition occurs when the vessels carrying oxygen and nutrients from the heart to the rest of the body (arteries) become thick and stiff. This in turn blocks the flow of blood to the other organs and tissues of the body. It is worthy to note that healthy arteries are flexible and elastic, even though the walls could harden over time in a condition known as hardening of the arteries. Atherosclerosis therefore refers to the buildup of cholesterol, fats as well as other substances which can restrict the flow of blood in and around the walls of the arteries (plaque). In some instances, the plaque could also burst and result in blood clotting. Atherosclerosis is known to be the usual cause of heart attacks, strokes and peripheral vascular disease, which are known together as cardiovascular disease.
Although atherosclerosis is often considered a heart problem, it can as well affect the arteries anywhere in the body. The exact cause of this condition is unknown, although it may start with an injury or a damage to the inner layer of the artery. Such damages are typically caused by high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, insulin resistance, obesity and diabetes, inflammations from diseases such as arthritis, lupus or other infections as well as smoking and other sources of tobacco.
The symptoms of Atherosclerosis could be mild or severe and rarely show until a blockage occurs. That said, the most common signs and symptoms may include chest pain/angina, shortness of breath, fatigue, pain in your leg, arm and anywhere else that has blocked artery, confusion if the blockage affects circulation to the brain as well as muscle weakness in the leg from lack of circulation. The treatment of Atherosclerosis simply involves a change of lifestyle to one that limits the amount of fat and cholesterol consumed. Of course, exercises are also recommended to improve the health of the heart and patients may also need additional medical treatment, including the use of medications and surgery if the symptoms are severe.
CBD, one of the most powerful compounds in medical marijuana has been reported to be effective in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, including Atherosclerosis. It is worthy to note that the body’s cardiovascular system contains multiple cannabinoid receptors, which has prompted many researchers to argue that CBD could play a huge role in maintaining the proper functioning and health of the heart.
Research findings from a 2017 study have also pointed out to the fact that CBD, which is found in the cannabis plant can help in the prevention of Atherosclerosis. Of course, cannabinoids play a crucial role in regulating the immune system and acting as an anti-inflammation agent. Well, inflammation is a major part of Atherosclerosis and CBD has been proven to slow it down. Several studies have actually shown CBD’s effectiveness in treating inflammations. One of such studies which was published within the journal Plos One investigated the effect of CBD on intestinal inflammation. The results of this study indicated that the application of CBD led to decreased levels of macrophages within the intestines of mice after CBD treatment. Of course, the results suggest future therapeutic strategies involving CBD in the treatment of inflammations, including inflammations associated with Atherosclerosis.
According to scientists, another major factor that increases one’s risk for atherosclerosis is endothelial dysfunction, which is also affected by the presence of cannabinoids. Research has suggested that activating the CB2 receptors is beneficial in reducing the number of endothelial-related issues, including health problems caused by high glucose diets such as fat accumulation in both human and animal models of atherosclerosis.
Other preclinical studies that have been conducted and published by the National Institute of Health Report has equally shown the beneficial effects of CBD in a range of cardiovascular disorders. As a matter of fact, CBD has been reported by these preclinical studies to have multiple positive effects on the body’s cardiovascular system.
Another reason why CBD is used in treating cardiovascular conditions is the fact that it has been proven to effectively decrease the accumulation of plaque on the body’s arterial walls. It is imperative to note that arterial plaque plays a significant role in heart disease since heart diseases easily progress when plaques continue to accumulate on the arterial walls. According to an NCBI study, CBD also acts as an immune modulator, while decreasing plaque buildup on the arterial wall.
It is apparent that there is a need for more research on this subject, to ascertain the exact extend to which CBD could treat Atherosclerosis and whether or not the treatment option is associated with long term side effects.
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