Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) are dysfunctions of the brain caused by physical harm to the head. Mild concussions may only cause temporary brain cell dysfunction, but more serious ones can cause brain tissue to bruise, tear, or bleed, which can result in long-term complications, like altered consciousness, seizures, fluid buildup, blood vessel damage, nerve damage, and intellectual, communication, sensory, and behavioral problems, or death. Symptoms vary and may arise immediately or become apparent later, but some include loss of consciousness, headaches, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, sleeping difficulties, increased sleepiness, dizziness, sensory problems, blurred vision, ear ringing, and memory and concentration problems, mood changes, and depression. Marijuana may be able to limit brain damage and improve recovery if administered right after the trauma occurs.
Cannabis protects the neural system, and in turn reduces the amount of brain damage that follows. Studies suggest THC and CBD interact with the endocannabinoid system to prevent the release of damaging pro-inflammatory cytokines following brain trauma. THC and CBD also act on the cannabinoid receptors to stimulate the release of minocycline, which reduces brain swelling and neurological impairment, and diffuses injuries to the brain's axons. Four animal studies found cannabinoids reduced brain swelling, excitotoxicity, oxidative stress, inflammation, infarct volume, and brain cell death, and improved overall recovery. Even in newborn babies with brain injuries, cannabinoids were able to effectively provide neuroprotection. Lastly, a study found that patients who had consumed THC prior to experiencing a traumatic brain injury were less likely to die as a result.
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