A new study conducted by Lesley D. Schurman and Aron H. Lichtman, which can be found in Frontiers in Pharmacology, suggests cannabinoids may have the power to benefit traumatic brain injury (TBI). Researchers reviewed preclinical studies that looked at the potential for cannabinoids to reduce the neural damage associated with TBI, and found cannabinoids interacted with the endocannabinoid system to regulate its immune response in order to prevent brain damage caused by a TBI. Following an injury, the body releases mediators like proinflammatory cytokines that can be harmful and lead to oxidative stress, inflammation, and excitoxicity, but this study suggests cannabinoids can modulate this response. The researchers conclude, “The [endocannabinoid] system, through release of its endogenous ligands or by changes in cannabinoid receptor constitutive activity possesses promise in the treatment of diverse TBI pathway.”
This study supports the findings of other studies that similarly suggest cannabinoids, like both THC and CBD, have neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties that improve the survival rates of brain cells following a TBI. Other research has shown when cannabinoids are administered right after injury, they prevent the release of harmful mediators that cause brain damage.