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Once a patient is stable, depending on symptoms, treatment usually relies on prescription ‘psychotropic’ medications — meaning, drugs that affect a person’s mental state.

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This is where CBD may be able to help. There’s evidence it can alleviate a wide range of health conditions related to TBI — such as epileptic seizures, anxiety, sleep disorders and inflammation of the brain.

Therefore, the importance of accurately assessing the severity of a TBI is vitally important for prognosis and management.

Most pharmaceutical options remain ineffective — and often come with unwanted side effects.

In 1998, researchers published the results of a study on rats that demonstrated the neuroprotective benefits of CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which are two of the cannabinoids found in cannabis. [2] Although more research is required to fully understand the neuroprotective effects of CBD, recent studies have shown that CBD activates the cannabinoid receptors in your brain that are part of your body’s natural endocannabinoid system.

Other animal studies also have shown that activating the cannabinoid receptors in your brain may help to limit nerve cell damage and promote healing by enhancing blood flow to the brain. [4] In a 2002 study, researchers found that mice that were genetically engineered to lack CB1, a cannabinoid receptor found in the brain, had more severe brain damage and cognitive deficits after a TBI when compared to mice that had the CB1 receptor.

What is a brain injury?

Because full-spectrum CBD contains a variety of phytocannabinoids, it produces an “entourage effect” that engages both the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain — as well as other cannabinoid and non-cannabinoid receptors throughout your body — for maximum neuroprotective and overall health benefits.

And, CBD may also affect your glial cells, which insulate your neurons and facilitate your brain’s immune response after injury. Research shows that CBD seems to have the strongest effect on two types of glial cells: astrocytes and microglia. A 2017 animal study showed that CBD suppressed the activity and swelling caused by astrocytes; [5] another 2017 study showed that stimulating cannabinoid receptors in the brain suppressed inflammation caused by microglia in rats.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a condition that occurs when a head injury, such as a bump, blow, or jolt, causes your brain to slam into the inside of your skull, which results in brain damage.

Amenta PS , Jallo JI , Tuma RF , Hooper DC , Elliott MB . Cannabinoid receptor type-2 stimulation, blockade, and deletion alter the vascular inflammatory responses to traumatic brain injury. J Neuroinflammation. 2014 Nov 22;11:191. doi: 10.1186/s12974-014-0191-6. PubMed PMID : 25416141; PubMed Central PMCID : PMC4248435 .

A pathology as complex as a stroke or a traumatic brain injury can benefit from a multifaceted treatment regimen that encompasses a combination of healing modalities, including:

TBI and stroke are both acute and potentially lethal injuries, involving a primary ischemic insult that interrupts cerebral blood flow and destroys brain tissue. This is followed by a secondary injury cascade that, if unchecked, can ricochet for several weeks or months, resulting in more brain damage, motor impairment and other adverse “downstream” effects, such as poor concentration, irritability, and sleep problems.

Shipwrecked

Schmidt W, Schäfer F, Striggow V, Fröhlich K, Striggow F. Cannabinoid receptor subtypes 1 and 2 mediate long-lasting neuroprotection and improve motor behavior deficits after transient focal cerebral ischemia. Neuroscience. 2012 Dec 27;227:313-26. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2012.09.080. Epub 2012 Oct 13. PubMed PMID : 23069763.

Schomacher M, Müller HD , Sommer C, Schwab S, Schäbitz WR . Endocannabinoids mediate neuroprotection after transient focal cerebral ischemia. Brain Res. 2008 Nov 13;1240:213-20. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2008.09.019. Epub 2008 Sep 18. PubMed PMID : 18823959.

In 1998, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a groundbreaking report on the neuroprotective properties of cannabidiol ( CBD ) and tetrahydrocannabinol ( THC ), two major components of marijuana. Co-authored by a team of researchers ( AJ Hampson, M Grimaldi, D Wink and Nobel laureate J Axelrod) at the National Institutes of Mental Health, this preclinical study on rats would form the basis of a U.S. government-held patent on “Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants.”

Fernández-Ruiz J, Moro MA , Martínez-Orgado J. Cannabinoids in Neurodegenerative Disorders and Stroke/Brain Trauma: From Preclinical Models to Clinical Applications. Neurotherapeutics. 2015 Oct;12(4):793-806. doi: 10.1007/s13311-015-0381-7. Review. PubMed PMID : 26260390; PubMed Central PMCID : PMC4604192 .