Cannabis is widely known for its numerous therapeutic properties. Many studies are being carried out globally to help determine more benefits that Cannabis can offer. One result from these studies indicates how cannabis can protect the brain from stress and injury.
Brain injuries or head trauma can result in the dysfunction of the brain, and could come from a bump, penetration, or an external force hitting the head. Several traumatic brain injuries occur every year, some being sport-related, others could be at work or just regular accidents.
Some people experience more than one over their entire lifetime. In the new technologically advanced world that we live in today, experts have noticed an increase in stress levels for individuals, some leading to issues such as stroke or heart attack. With these alarming data confronting us, what then can we do to protect the brain when the unexpected occurs?
Experts say we can attempt to correct these conditions by encouraging good nutrition, exercising and a generally healthy lifestyle, in addition to the use of helmets and other head protective gear.
However, despite the availability of the options above, there are still a lot of traumatic injuries or damages occurring to the brain. Some of these occur at the time of impact, while some occur during rehabilitation.
This can cause further issues to the brain even after the patient’s condition is stable. Some of the damages that occur at the rehabilitation stage include:
- Lack of regulation in the release of glutamate (the chemical that is responsible for exciting the brain) to the brain such that there is excessive amounts of it. This is not only responsible for causing severe damage to the brain’s DNA, it can also cause an impairment in the cell’s machinery and possibly cell death.
- Brain injuries allow for the release of free radicals into the brain. These harmful chemicals are an after-effect of the functioning brain cells, which are usually neutralized to prevent them from causing harm. A release of these chemicals by brain injury causes its levels to be dangerously high which isn’t good for the brain’s health.
- Brain inflammation is known as a mechanism for the brain to repair damages caused by an injury. However, it could cause further damages that could permanently affect the communication of the brain cells and even lead to the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Currently, extensive research is being conducted to validate using THC and CBD to reduce the occurrence and effects head trauma. The theory stands to prove that cannabinoids can counter some issues as a result of brain stress and injury.
Cannabis and Brain Damage
It is well known that cannabis has therapeutic and protective properties for a lot of conditions, but the fact that it includes brain damage and injury is relatively unknown. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) found in the human body plays a huge role in this as it offers a foundation for many of the benefits the cannabis plant has as well.
Cannabinoid receptors type I and II (CB1 and CB2) are not only responsible for modulating the release of glutamate but also have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. These receptors are activated by cannabinoids.
When activated, the CB1 receptors in the brain inhibit its communication and the subsequent release of glutamate that comes after a traumatic brain injury thus reducing the possibility of severe brain damage or death.
This is why many TBI patients with THC in their blood can survive it more than those who don’t, though this is dependent on the dosage. If the THC is found in low amounts, it helps in the reduction of inflammation. But high amounts of THC do quite the opposite which is why it should be properly administered.
Studies indicate that the damage can be minimized when THC or CBD has been consumed before a traumatic brain injury, though CBD is still effective even when it was administered after.
It was also discovered that CBD can offer long-term protection and its frequent use did not diminish its energy or tolerance. CBD seems more suitable for use in these cases because it is non-psychoactive, unlike its counterpart THC, which is why many prefer it in the treatment of medical conditions as it has other therapeutic properties.
Cannabis and Stress
Chronic stress or aging can have harmful effects on the brain, which are a result of a decrease in the production of new brain cells from the hippocampus. The hippocampus is one area in the brain where new cells are responsible for actions such as the reduction of anxiety and depression, learning and memory, and regulation of the body’s stress levels. The use of THC in low doses helps activate the CB1 receptors which then encourage the development of new brain cells. The use of CBD also activates the receptors through an increase in anandamide, an endogenous cannabinoid to inhibit the effects of chronic stress on the brain.
We should keep in mind that any usage of cannabis for the treatment of medical conditions should be done with the guidance of a trusted medical professional.
Finally, it is quite obvious that cannabis will continue to play a huge role in improving the quality of human life. More research and clinical studies are needed to fully explore the wonders that are locked in the cannabis plant.
What do you think of the use of cannabis to protect the brain from stress and injury, are we entering a new age where cannabis is the answer? Drop your opinion in the comments section below.