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Atherosclerosis is one of the most prevalent diseases in humans, present in nearly 3 out of every 4 healthy 22 year olds. It is caused by the accumulation of LDL along with fat and cholesterol in the walls of the circulatory system, and it’s found ubiquitously throughout the body. At first, the plaque causes the vessel as a whole to widen in order to avoid narrowing of the lumen, where blood flows. After a period of 20-30 years, the arteries will begin to become blocked by the plaques, and coronary artery disease – among others – is caused by the formation of these plaques in the vessels that feed the heart, leading to weakening of the heart muscle.

If a portion of the plaque breaks loose, it can travel downstream and become lodged at a narrower point in the vasculature, leading to ischemia of the tissue fed by the blocked artery. If this happens in the heart, it’s known as myocardial infarction, the leading cause of heart attacks. In the brain, it’s known as a stroke.

CBD is helpful in both preventing and treating atherosclerosis. First, it slows the accumulation of plaque and preserves the integrity of the epithelium. Secondly, it slows the inflammatory process which is incited by the plaque accumulation. Lastly, CBD balances our cholesterol homeostasis, which is also partly controlled by the endocannabinoid system. For these reasons and many more that are sure to be uncovered by future research, CBD is an effective option for those with atherosclerosis.

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