OCT 15, 2020 7:30 AM PDT

Can Cannabis Treat Traumatic Brain Injury?

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) happens when the head is violently hit by an object or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue. A major cause of death, disability, and long-term cognitive damage, some preliminary research has been exploring how cannabis and its compounds may stave off the worst of its effects. 

So far, knowledge of how cannabis affects TBI comes mostly from observational or preclinical research. Data from test-tube and animal studies, for example, suggest that cannabinoids anandamide and 2-Aranchidonoylglycerol (2-AG), as well as some plant and synthetic varieties, may have neuroprotective effects following brain injury. 

While exactly how this works is not yet understood, some studies indicate possible pathways. In one mouse study, for example, researchers found that THC reduces the release of glutamate, a common neurotransmitter in the brain. This is important as excessive glutamate production is known to be a primary factor in cell death after brain injury. 

Nevertheless, results from clinical trials have so far been promising- although until now, they have exclusively used synthetic cannabinoids. In one randomized, double-blind trial, for example, researchers tested synthetic cannabinoid dexanabinol on 67 patients with severe brain injury. Aged between 16 and 65, each were treated within six hours of treatment. 

In the end, the researchers found that patients who received the drug experienced 21% better neurologic outcomes based on the Glasgow outcome scale than those in the placebo group at a three-month follow-up. Moreover, they found that those treated with dexanabinol had significantly better intracranial pressure and cerebral perfusion control and tended to recover better and faster than those not treated with the drug.

However, while results from these studies yield promise for the usage of cannabinoids to reduce damage from TBI and accelerate recovery times, more clinical trials are needed before conclusions can be made. 

 

Sources: TheCannigmaPub Med

About the Author
  • Science writer with keen interests in technology and behavioral biology. Her current focus is on the interplay between these fields to create meaningful interactions, applications and environments.
You May Also Like
AUG 12, 2020
Health & Medicine
Boomers Use Cannabis Mostly for Ailments; Millennials for Recreation
AUG 12, 2020
Boomers Use Cannabis Mostly for Ailments; Millennials for Recreation
A survey by marijuana dispensary chain Verilife has found that older and younger cannabis consumers have very different ...
OCT 29, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Hemp 10 Years from Now
OCT 29, 2020
Hemp 10 Years from Now
The hemp industry has experienced major growth in recent years, largely due to legalization in many US states. Today, th ...
NOV 14, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
New Genetic Test Identifies Cannabis THC Levels from Seeds
NOV 14, 2020
New Genetic Test Identifies Cannabis THC Levels from Seeds
Researchers from the University of Minnesota have developed a genetic test that can predict how much cannabidiol (CBD) o ...
DEC 03, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Ozone Reacts with THC in Thirdhand Cannabis Smoke
DEC 03, 2020
Ozone Reacts with THC in Thirdhand Cannabis Smoke
Researchers from the University of Toronto have found that ozone, a component of outdoor and indoor air, reacts with tet ...
DEC 30, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Cannabis Reduces Stress and Anxiety in Over 95% of Cases
DEC 30, 2020
Cannabis Reduces Stress and Anxiety in Over 95% of Cases
Whether cannabis will induce feelings of relaxation or anxiety often feels like a coin toss. Now, however, researchers f ...
JAN 09, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Cannabis Use Does not Increase Risk of Heart Disease
JAN 09, 2021
Cannabis Use Does not Increase Risk of Heart Disease
Previous studies on how cannabis affects cardiovascular health have delivered mixed results. Now, from a study of over 5 ...
Loading Comments...