Medical Marijuana Can Aid With Many Different Debilitating Side Effects From a Blow to the Head

There were about 3.8 million sports and recreation-related traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in the United States in 2017 [1] Severe blows to the head can cause concussions or a TBI that will likely result in difficulty thinking clearly, insomnia, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, headaches, and even migraines. [2]

If you or a loved one has suffered from a concussion or TBI and are interested to see if you can find symptom relief with medical marijuana, take our short and simple online eligibility survey. Medical marijuana can aid with many different debilitating side effects from a blow to the head our state certified Ohio medical marijuana physicians are here to guide you along the way. 

 

What is a Concussion?

A concussion is a potentially dangerous traumatic brain injury that is caused by a bump, or jolt to the head, or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. [3] This rapid movement causes damage to both the brain tissue and brain cells and can even cause chemical and metabolic changes within those cells. This can result in the cells having difficulty functioning and communicating properly with the rest of the bodies systems. Concussions are usually not life-threatening; however, they can cause severe symptoms that affect normal day to day activities.

 

Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms of a concussion vary depending on the severity of the injury and the person who was injured. Most people with a concussion recover well from these symptoms, but some people can have symptoms that last for a long time. 

Signs of a concussion can be extremely obvious, but often they go undiagnosed. While they typically show up soon after the injury, sometimes it takes hours or days for them to show up. The signs to look out for after a blow to the head include loss of consciousness, delayed response to questions, changes in mood and behavior, forgetfulness, and memory loss. [4]

After suffering from a concussion or TBI, people report symptoms they are experiencing which can be categorized into four different classifications. The Somatic, or physical, symptoms include headaches, migraines, dizziness, sensitivity to light and noise, and nausea. The Cognitive symptoms are loss of focus, memory issues, difficulty multitasking and completing mental tasks. Sleep symptoms include either sleeping more or less than usual and having trouble falling asleep. Emotional symptoms include anxiety, panic attacks, and even depression. 

 

Post-Concussion Syndrome 

Post-concussion syndrome is a complex disorder in which various symptoms -such as headaches and dizziness – last for weeks and even months after the injury that caused the concussion. [5] For many patients who undergo concussion treatment, the symptoms resolve themselves within three months. Any type of disruption to the brain can result in debilitating side effects, which in return impacts one’s functionality and performance levels. Long-term PCS patients often have to reorganize their lives to avoid any type of activity that can cause their symptoms to worsen.

Women, people over the age of 40, and those suffering from mental health issues such as anxiety and PTSD have an increased chance of developing PCS. The only known way to prevent post-concussion syndrome is to avoid obtaining a head injury to begin with. 

 

Medical Marijuana as Treatment

The body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) is largely responsible for maintaining homeostasis, or your body’s ideal state, within neurological and digestive systems. Not only does trauma to the brain cause disruptions in these systems, it also can cause the brain to release potentially toxic chemicals. These harmful mediators build up causing oxidative stress and inflammation issues. 

Cannabidiol (CBD), one of the main cannabinoids found in medical cannabis products, might be able to help those with a concussion or TBI. It contains unique chemical properties that might give the brain exactly what it needs to heal while even potentially reversing some of the damage from the injury. Pain, inflammation, and mood changes are the three main side effects of PCS and medical marijuana products can help with relieving these symptoms. 

 

What Does the Research Say?

There have been plenty of studies done throughout the years that show CBD and other cannabinoids can be an effective treatment after suffering a concussion. In 1998, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a report on the neuroprotective properties of CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). [6] This preclinical study done on rats resulted in a US government-held patent on cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants.” [7] This patent indicates that CBD and THC were found to have used as neuroprotectants which can limit neurological damage following trauma to the brain.

The initial trauma to the brain triggers a sequence of events due to the massive release of glutamate and the overproduction of inflammatory compounds, such as reactive oxygen species. Excess glutamine and oxidative stress levels can lead to swollen brain tissue, cell death, neurotoxicity, and mitochondrial dysfunction. 

In 2011, an article published in the British Journal described the endocannabinoid system as a “self-protective mechanism” that responds after a stroke by increasing endocannabinoid levels in the brain during and immediately after a TBI. [8] These endocannabinoids activate the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors, protecting the brain against TBI-induced deficits and CBD are shown to activate in the same receptors, resulting in similar health-positive effects.

CB1 receptors, which are concentrated in the human brain and central nervous system, experience heightened activity after a concussion or TBI. This results in limiting harmful levels of glutamate release as well as dilating blood vessels. Dilated blood vessels result in more blood flow, oxygen and nutrient supply to the brain. When excess glutamate is released, activity levels of CB1 receptors increase to reduce excitotoxic neurotransmission; however, some studies have shown that the level of activity in the CB1 receptors can vary on the time of day, phase of the injury, and endocannabinoid concentrations in the brain. [9]

A damaged brain has a small window of time, also known as the “platinum ten minutes” or “golden hour,” for therapeutic intervention to prevent or delay the degenerative effect of an injury. CBD can be used to expand that window of time, and researchers have learned that it can also convey “potent, long-lasting neuroprotection if given shortly before or as much as twelve hours after the onset of ischemia.” [6]

 

Taking the Next Step 

Medical Marijuana products can help a patient normalize their endocannabinoid system to help combat any damage caused by a traumatic head injury. CBD can help heal the damaged receptors and prevent further swelling, inflammation, and pain. When choosing the right form of medical marijuana to suit your needs while healing from a concussion or TBI, it is essential to understand the relief you want to target. Both CBD and THC can target different symptoms to relieve and finding a good combination of the two can be crucial in getting the relief you need.

Finding a compassionate and educated medical marijuana doctor is the first step to treating post-concussion symptoms. There are many different ways to consume medical marijuana in the state of Ohio, so it is key to finding those that suit your needs.If you are ready to get the relief you deserve, book an appointment with one of our qualified Ohio Medical Marijuana Doctors to start the process of getting your state-issued ID card. Our staff of Patient Care Advisors and Coordinators can help walk you through the steps it takes to complete all of the forms required for both your appointment and state approval. With multiple locations throughout the state and a staff of highly trained physicians, DocMJ makes getting the relief you deserve easy and stress-free!

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/media/pressrel/2007/r070726.htm

[2] https://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/symptoms.html

[3] https://www.cdc.gov/headsup/basics/concussion_whatis.html

[4] https://www.cdc.gov/headsup/basics/concussion_symptoms.html

[5] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/post-concussion-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20353352

[6] https://www.projectcbd.org/medicine/no-brainer-cbd-thc-head-injuries

[7] https://patents.google.com/patent/US6630507B1/en

[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21418185

[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24287910