Medical Cannabis and TBI

Medical Cannabis and TBIMedical Cannabis and TBI

This is an exerpt from a very long, not brain injury survivor friendly, article that cuts to the chase and is the information we need to know to make a smart decision when it comes to Cannabis and Brain Injury. The entire article can be read here.

Natural endogenous cannabinoids are produced in the bodies of humans and some animals. Their main function is to bind to cannabinoid receptors in the body of the organism they came from.
A compound the brain manufactures in response to trauma may be useful as a treatment for complications resulting from brain injury, Israeli researchers report.
““We believe that this compound, that the brain itself produces, may serve as a neuroprotectant agent,” lead author Esther Shohami, a professor in the School of Pharmacy at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, told Reuters Health.

The compound, known as 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG), is a cannabinoid, a substance the body produces with a similar structure to chemicals found in the cannabis plant, the source of marijuana.
In research published in the October 4th issue of Nature, the investigators found 2-AG at 10 times the normal level in the brains of mice 4 hours after a traumatic injury.
The researchers theorize that the compound somehow helps prevent some of the secondary complications associated with brain injury, possibly by reducing the inflammatory response, slowing the production of a toxic brain chemical or boosting the blood supply to the brain immediately after the injury.

However, the natural amounts the brain cells produce following trauma probably do not reach high enough levels to be effective, Shohami noted.
To investigate the effects of the compound, the researchers synthesized 2-AG and injected it an hour after brain injury had been induced in mice. The mice were evaluated 1, 4 and 7 days after injury.
“We found a tremendous improvement in the recovery of the mice,” Shohami said, noting that there was less excess fluid causing swelling in the brain, better recovery of motor function, and fewer dead brain cells and brain tissue.
However, the drug’s protection against neurological damage was short-lived, with significant effects lasting only a day after treatment.
Shohami said she hopes to eventually investigate the compound on humans who have suffered brain injuries and to extend the timeframe in which the substance could be offered.

“Its administration, as a single injection, should be considered as a novel therapeutic modality,” she said. “Since the benefit was achieved by a single administration, I do not expect serious side-effects or toxicity to be a major problem.”
Cannabis & Neuroprotection
Not only has modern science refuted the notion that marijuana is neurotoxic, recent scientific discoveries have indicated that cannabinoids are, in fact, neuroprotective, particularly against alcohol-induced brain damage.  In a recent preclinical study — the irony of which is obvious to anyone who reads it — researchers at the US National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) reported that the administration of the non-psychoactive cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) reduced ethanol-induced cell death in the brain by up to 60 percent. “This study provides the first demonstration of CBD as an in vivoneuroprotectant … in preventing binge ethanol-induced brain injury,” the study’s authors wrote in the May 2005 issue of the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.  Alcohol poisoning is linked to hundreds of preventable deaths each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control, while cannabis cannot cause death by overdose.
(Of course), many US neurologists have known about cannabis’ neuroprotective  ‘”powers”  for years.  NIMH scientists in 1998 first touted the ability of natural cannabinoids to stave off  the brain-damaging effects of stroke and acute head trauma.  Similar findings were then replicated by investigators in the Netherlands,  then Italy and, most recently, by Japanese research in 2005.  However, attempts to measure the potential neuroprotective effects of synthetic cannabinoid-derived medications in humans have so far been inconclusive.

Cannabis & Cognition

What about claims of cannabis’ damaging effect of cognition?  A review of the scientific literature indicates that rumors regarding the “stoner stupid” stereotype are unfounded.  According to clinical trial data published this past spring in the American Journal of Addictions, cannabis use — including heavy, long-term use of the drug — has, at most, only a negligible impact on cognition and memory.  Researchers at Harvard Medical School performed magnetic resonance imaging on the brains of ( 22) long-term cannabis users (reporting a mean of  (20-100)  lifetime episodes of smoking)  and (26) controls (subjects with no history of cannabis use).  Imaging displayed “no significant differences” between heavy cannabis smokers compared to controls.

Previous trials tell a similar tale.  An October 2004 study published in the journal Psychological Medicine examining the potential long-term residual effects of cannabis on cognition in monozygotic male twins reported “an absence of marked long-term residual effects of marijuana use on cognitive abilities.”  A 2003 meta-analysis published in theJournal of the International Neuropsychological Society also “failed to reveal a substantial, systematic effect of long-term, regular cannabis consumption on the neurocognitive functioning of users who were not acutely intoxicated,” and a 2002 clinical trial published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal determined,  “Marijuana does not have a long-term negative impact on global intelligence.”

Read more of this very long article .

It is my opinion on Cannnabis and Brain Injury, and I have been keeping record of my daily feeling and activity since early 2014, that Cannabis only helps with cognition in a big way. It makes me take care and pay attention while making me very aware of what I am doing, and my surroundings. Then there are the benefits I get from improved muscle tone and relief from spacticity.

About: -TBI Insider:
Mike is not a TBI doctor, he is just an advocate for traumatic brain injury. He offers his advice on brain injury from a survivors perspective and it is up to you to take or ignore his advice. Meaning he is not responsible in any way for your actions. He offers his advice for free on the world wide web and you should take it as such, cheap advice.