CBD Improves Cognitive Function For Traumatic Brain Injury Victims, Study Finds

Traumatic brain injury is a condition that results from severe head trauma. It can impact soldiers at war, athletes, people in car accidents and natural disaster victims. Now, a new study has found that CBD may provide effective treatment for TBI.

The use of CBD to treat TBI has been a topic for research for decades. That is because medical researchers are always on the lookout for something that treats those with TBI. Currently, there is no universal treatment to safely treat patients. CBD, which already is known to help with many different conditions, has become a focus from many researchers in this area.

The most recent study comes from two researchers in the Department of Cell Biology & Anatomy at New York Medical College who found that CBD can help improve memory and other cognitive functions for those with TBI.

TBI Impacts Physical Health and Brain Function

TBI occurs when people suffer a bump, blow or jolt to the head. In the worst cases, something penetrates the head, such as a gunshot. TBI injuries range from the mild (such as a concussion) to severe cases. In addition to physical symptoms such as nausea, dizziness and vomiting, TBI can cause both short-term and long-term cognitive issues. They include amnesia, inability to speak, mental confusion, inability to create new memories, and difficulties concentrating, thinking and understanding.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that TBI is “a major cause of death and disability in the United States.” There are about 166 TBI-related deaths in the U.S. every day. Most of the injuries come from falls, motor vehicle crashes, assaults and firearms (mostly self-inflicted gunshot wounds).

How CBD May Help Alleviate TBI Symptoms

The new study, published in the journal Experimental Neurology, found that TBI patients who were given CBD experienced improvements in a variety of areas. They included:

  • Improvement in vestibulomotor function that allows people to keep their balance, stabilize their head and body during movement, and maintain posture.
  • Improvement in learning and memory cognitive performance.
  • CBD applied through local delivery at the contusion site and systematic injection reduced the volume of TBI-caused lesions.
  • CBD lessened the impact of injuries to the hippocampus.

The researchers also found that dual treatment that involved directly applying CBD to the injury as well as systemic injection of CBD produced the best results.

Past studies have also found that CBD may provide effective treatment for TBI symptoms. For example, a 2020 study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology associated use of CBD with increased cerebral blood flow in the brain’s memory processing regions. A common aspect of TBI is reduced cerebral blood flow.

Also, a 2017 study from Hebrew University of Jerusalem found that mice and rats with TBI showed “significantly better recovery”  when treated with cannabinoid compounds.

The Cannabis Alliance, in reviewing these and other studies, wrote that “current research is pointing towards CBD serving as a neuroprotectant, possibly helping the brain heal from concussions. Findings also indicate that CBD and/or medical cannabis (marijuana) can be effective for pain management, anxiety, and insomnia, all of which are common symptoms of concussions and Post-Concussion Syndrome.”

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