brain injury

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. Some preliminary research has been exploring how cannabis and its compounds may stave off the worst of its effects.

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.

Scientists are encouraged by the possibility of treating neurological conditions like autism and epilepsy with cannabis, and it looks like cannabis can offer hope to people who have endured head trauma as well.

How do cannabinoids like THC and CBD provide neuroprotection? Plant cannabinoids can augment and mimic the cannabinoids that mammals produce internally called endocannabinoids. They are part of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) that regulates some brain processes that are important in TBI, like inflammation, neuroplasticity, and blood flow to the brain.

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