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Cannabis Could Help Repair Damage Caused by Concussion

Emily Robertson

To prevent concussion injury from becoming permanent brain damage, you must immediately reduce swelling. Cannabis is a pro at reducing inflammation.

As scientific research on cannabis ramps up around the world, it seems we are constantly updated on the enormous health benefits of its medicine. Contrary to the reports of the past, which targeted cannabis for cognitive impairment, new studies demonstrate that cannabis is great for the brain.

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Recent research shows that cannabis can help heal brain injury of post-concussion syndrome (PCS). PCS is a complicated malady that, so far, lacks effective treatment. Over-the-counter medicines can treat headache symptoms, but other than that, it’s all about time and rest. This time, however, can be devastating to the livelihood of patients; PCS can brutally interrupt a life.

PCS appears anywhere from 7 to 10 days following concussions. Concussions are caused by a strike on the head leading to mild traumatic brain injury. We don’t fully understand the factors causing PCS to develop. Nor is it clear why some patients develop it after a seemingly minor jolt while others take a major blow unscathed.  Some medical researchers think it could be structural damage within the brain itself; others believe psychological factors could contribute; still others believe PCS is caused by a disruption of neurotransmitter systems in the brain.

What is certain is that PCS is the cause of symptoms that are incredibly unpleasant, painful, and disruptive. These include: memory loss, insomnia, inability to concentrate, anxiety, irritability, sensitivity to noise and light, and fatigue. As mentioned, there are few, if any, medical treatments so far that help decrease the effects of these symptoms, until now.

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Cannabis and PCS

Preclinical studies suggest that cannabis can alleviate the symptoms of brain injuries by reducing swelling and inflammation. This in turn, decreases the probability of permanent brain damage.

One study from 2011 that looked at “Endocannabinoids and traumatic brain injury” has suggested that cannabinoids can help treat this, while also reducing recovery time. Other studies including one from 2006, one from 2011, two from 2013, and another from 2015 have shown that balancing the endocannabinoid system through plant cannabinoids, offers neuroprotection. This, in turn, prevents further brain injury while reducing current brain damage.

Is PCS a Qualifying Condition? 

In the United States, 28 states currently allow medical cannabis as a treatment for chronic pain, intractable pain, and/or severe pain that may derive from PCS. So far, however, only Illinois defines post-concussion syndrome as specifically approved for medical cannabis use.

In Canada, where medical cannabis is legal across the country, healthcare providers generally approve PCS for cannabis treatment. Again, this depends on the practicing physician. Yet, its place on the list of approved conditions certainly makes it easier for patients to get a prescription.

Have you ever used medical cannabis to treat PCS? We’d love to hear about your experience as to whether or not cannabis helped treat your brain injury.

Emily Robertson

Emily Robertson has been writing freelance and contract work since 2011. She has written on a variety of topics, including travel writing of North America and the growing legalized cannabis industry across the globe. Robertson has a master’s degree in literature and gender studies, and brings this through in her writing by always trying to explore different perspectives. Born and raised in southwestern Ontario, Robertson moved to Glasgow, Scotland in 2016 to undergo her doctorate in Scottish Literature. She lives in the West End with her dog, Henley.

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