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Can marijuana help those who have suffered brain injuries?

There is both anecdotal and academic evidence that marijuana can help relieve the symptoms of a multitude of medical conditions. Researchers at Tel Aviv University have found that a small amount of THC, the main ingredient in cannabis, may help prevent the loss of brain function in those who have suffered traumatic brain injuries. A low-dose form of THC called Cannabidiol, which is largely non-psychoactive, can help protect brain cells by inducing certain biochemical processes, according to the Israeli researchers

While administering CBD before or immediately after a brain injury was shown to be effective for members of the Israeli Defense Force, there are a number of anecdotal reports of people with less recent TBIs whose symptoms were helped by marijuana.

Research has been hampered, at least here in the U.S., by the fact that marijuana is still categorized by the federal government along with other drugs that have "a high potential for abuse" and "no currently accepted medical use."

However, one study did show that people who had used marijuana prior to their TBI had a higher survival rate than those who hadn't. This tends to correspond with the Israeli researchers findings that soldiers who were given cannabis prior to suffering a TBI suffered less long-term brain injury.

Since marijuana can reduce anxiety, it makes sense that it would help with some of the emotional effects of a TBI. However, the study found that "various cannabinoids rescue dying neurons" caused by certain types of brain injury.

One doctor here in the U.S. reported that he's seen positive changes in a number of patients whom he put on a daily regimen of a small dose of CBD. This includes a patient who suffered memory loss after a serious car accident. He said that within six weeks she showed "significant improvement. He said that "her cognitive function improved and her memory returned to normal."

Even though marijuana is legal here in Colorado, anyone who is considering using it to help treat the symptoms of a TBI should consult with one's physician and use it only as directed by him or her.

Ongoing medical treatment is often required for victims of TBIs. That's why it's essential that if you pursue a civil legal claim against someone responsible for your injury, you and your attorney work to seek the compensation you will need for this care for as long as necessary.

Source: Leafly, "Can Cannabis Prevent and Treat Traumatic Brain Injury?," Jeremy Kossen, July 24, 2016

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