The Correlation Between Cannabis and Traumatic Brain Injuries

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs as a result of an external and forceful impact to the head. It is also known as an intracranial injury and can result in damage to the skull and scalp.

Usually caused by falls, vehicle collisions, and violence, this injury can be extremely debilitating for many patients who suffer from it.

Some patients report losing their sense of smell, while others are induced into a coma in order to protect their brains from further damage. Others who have consumed cannabis previously report that they are no longer able to feel the effects of the plant after the injury.

However, the endocannabinoid system and its components appear to be viable treatments physicians can use for TBIs.

It is believed that THC and CBD can protect against some of the consequences of a traumatic brain injury. For example, glutamate is a neurotransmitter that can reach dangerous levels after a TBI. THC and CBD can decrease the amount of glutamate found in the brain, thereby reducing damage.

CBD helps to prevent the release of proinflammatory cytokines which are released after brain trauma and cause damage. Free radicals are some of the chemicals that are released after a brain injury which results in even more damage to the brain. Cannabis, in this case, would help with reducing these free radicals.

Activating of the CB1 and CB2 receptors also have been shown to stimulate the release of minocycline, which reduces brain swelling and neurological impairment and diffuses further injuries to the brain’s axons.

Not only can cannabis help with immediate complications from TBI’s, it can also help reduce some later symptoms of the injuries such as nausea, depression, loss of appetite, mood swings, and insomnia. It can even have neuroprotective factors against Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases, which can develop after TBIs.

What’s even more interesting is that activating CB1 receptors can facilitate the growth of new brain cells.

Obviously, more studies need to be done to ensure that proper diagnosing and treatment can be made efficiently. But in the meantime, it is unfortunate that many needlessly suffer the long-term consequences of brain trauma.