Could marijuana prevent brain damage after traumatic injury?
Looks like Bob Marley wasn’t kidding when he claimed marijuana can be good for you. The loco weed may prove beneficial in arresting some forms of brain damage after traumatic injury, claims a new study.
According to lead researcher, Dr. Yosef Sarne of Tel Aviv University’s Adelson Center for the Biology of Addictive Diseases, “the active component of marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC” has the potential to shield the brain after injuries from seizures, toxic drug exposure or a lack of oxygen.
Sarne explained that the introduction of a miniscule amount of THC in the brain appears to promote the activation of biochemical processes that guard brain cells and preserve cognitive function.
In order to determine whether the use of low doses of THC can prevent long-term cognitive damage triggered via brain injury, the scientists conducted an animal study.
They injected the rodents with single, very low dose of THC (thousands of times less potent than the weakest joint) either few days prior or after exposing them to a brain trauma. Animals in the control group also got their brains bonked but were not administered THC treatment.
Roughly a month after the THC treatment trial, the mice were examined. It was noted that animals given THC fared much better in behavioral tests designed to assess learning and memory skills as opposed to those in the control group. They also exhibited greater amounts of neuroprotective chemicals than mice not given the dose.
Experts theorize that marijuana may actually cause minor brain damage that helps build resistance and sparks off protective measures to prevent major injury.
Though, the animal study shows promise, experts feel there is need to substantiate the findings in human trials.
“Since we deal, in this case, in a basic process (THC is protective against a variety of insults, not just a specific condition), I personally believe it will go beyond rodents,” Sarne wrote.
Details of the animal study are published in the journals Behavioural Brain Research and Experimental Brain Research.