Smoking weed after head trauma, safe?
by TessaB, Nov 30, 2008
By boyfriend of 20 was recently in a terrible train and car collision.  It hit on his friends side that killed his friend instantly.  My boyfriend was lifeflighted and the neurologist believed he would not make it.  He has severe brain and brain stem damage.  The doctors have a neuro scale of 1 to 15 (15 being the best, like us), he was a three.  He miraculousy woke up and is in rehabilitation doing very well and seems to be himself for the most part.  SunshineDreams has posted Smoking weed after head trauma, safe?.  His accident was also terrible but I believe my boyfriend is in worse shape.  He smokes pot and I'm terrified how that will affect him.  I don't think he should smoke until a year when the brain is considered the most it will heal.  I know there hasn't been any studies but I need advice.
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Member Comments (31)
by lucidus, Dec 07, 2008
Smoking anything is really bad for a person's health.  When a person has already taken a hit to his or her health, there is a delicate balance of the body trying to do the best it can and the damage or disease pushing back.  Taking herbs, illegal drugs, eating badly, drinking alcohol, smoking, wrong doses of megavitamins, not enough or too much water, over-exertion -- can make a person feel worse not better.  

He will be ultimately depressed and has already shown he has an addictive behavior -- the best thing you can encourage your friend to do is to get therapy or counseling to figure out how to wrap his head around his changed life and how he is going to get on with life and what he can do to make himself feel better, not worse.  He has an opportunity to help others by telling his story or to sit in a bed a sink into a bed and feel sorry for himself.  Getting a purpose to life always helps. Smoking weed is the wrong way to go.

Please understand that marijuana is harmful, just like alcohol and cigarettes.  On top of that it is illegal - try being miserable in jail.

Can you be strong and get him away from this stuff?
by cameroniles, Feb 16, 2010
who ever made the last coment obviously isnt a smoker and thinks it's so bad when it isnt neer as bad as you think in alot of cases after head trauma seizures are a risk and i reserched that weed helps stop seizures in epileptics. so im reely not sure if its good or bad at this point since im in the same boat trying to figure out if it is ok.
by shelly3872, Aug 03, 2010
weed  is  not  drug.  its  a  plant!  I  would  rather  have  my  fiance'  smoke  weed  than  cigarettes.he  had  a  brain  injury  15  yrs  ago. it  relaxes  him,  he  lost  his  sense  of  smell. he  has  seizures. smoking  weed  is  better  than  sniffing  paint,  bleach,  other  chemicals.  there  is  something  very  wrong  with  people,  u  shoot  down  things  u  r  very  ignorant  about.  his  meds keeps  him  alive,  weed  lets  him  cope. it  is  an  individual  choice.  if  a  person  started  to  pick  lawn  grass and  smoke  it  that  would  be  an  uproar,  that  has  pesticides and  grass  seed in  it.
by Dr. Kokil MathurBlank, Aug 04, 2010

Welcome to the MedHelp forum!
Prolonged smoking of weed can cause memory and other cognitive problems. Hence it should be smoked with caution in people who have suffered from brain injury. For those on weed, often it is difficult to know whether the symptoms are due to head injury or due to weed.
It is difficult to comment beyond this at this stage. Please let me know if there is any thing else and do keep me posted. Take care!
by caregiver222, Aug 06, 2010
Doctornee has brought out some excellent points.

Smoking pot will both mask symptoms and make it difficult to perform a proper neurological evaluation.

Pot also inhibits the desire to improve oneself and learn, both important factors in rehabilitation, when you are trying to make a part of the brain take over new functions.
by lawlitsDavid, Aug 06, 2010
As a past regular, daily weed smoker I can tell you that while weed is relatively harmless. After head trauma, it is just plain negligent  to smoke. He should be more concerned about his injuries and recovering fully. If he recovers as well as he can then you consider the pros and cons of it affecting his health. Not to mention there are safer ways to get high other than smoking. No offense, but after he has experienced that incident and the fact that he continues to smoke shows that he might not even want to recover. I suggest getting someone that has an influence on him to talk to him about it, preferably someone he knows is educated on cannabis and it's effects.
by jara93, Aug 18, 2010

I am a old "stoner". I also have been given a brain injury in the late months of 2008. I used to smoke a lot of weed so part of me wishes to do so but take one month breaks in between my smoking sessions. I am just worried about how it will effect my healing, because I am in rehab for my brain injury, and I would like to smoke a little before a movie socially with friends. What do you suggest I do?
by cannatopia, Oct 15, 2010
Research has begun to accumulate over the past few years showing that cannabinoids are neuroprotective against brain injury resulting from toxins, hypoxia, and head trauma. Cannabinoids are, loosely, chemicals that are similar in structure to the psychoactive components in cannabis and/or chemicals that activate the cannabinoid receptor system in the body. Researchers have found protective effects not only from the plant-derived cannabinoids such as THC, but also from endogenous cannabinoids (those occurring naturally in the body, such as anandamide) and some synthetic pharmaceutical cannabinoids.

The research with the cannabis-source cannabinoids, conducted in mice, rats, and in vitro, has shown remarkable effectiveness in reducing brain damage from injected toxins, hypoxia, and head trauma.1 Other research has found that anandamide levels in the brains of rats naturally rise after brain injury or death and the cannabinoid system may play a primary role in limiting brain damage.2

Because psychoactivity is considered an unwanted side effect, much of the current research is being done with synthetic cannabinoid system agonists. One synthetic cannabinoid, Dexanabinol (HU-211), is already in phase 3 trials (medium scale, involving humans) headed towards governmental approval as a neuroprotective pharmaceutical. Research conducted in Israel that gave 67 patients with serious head trauma either Dexanabinol or placebo confirms similar research in rats showing reduced damage and faster recovery among those receiving the cannabinoids.3 Although other promising head trauma treatments have failed in the demanding and complex phase 3 research trials, many interested in the field of neuroinjury are excited about the findings to date.

The mechanisms by which the cannabinoids reduce damage from both toxic and traumatic injury to the brain are not yet fully understood. Although some researchers have suggested that the cannabinoids may offer protection through a strong antioxidant effect, this is now considered unlikely to account for much of the protection, since cannabinoid-receptor antagonists block the beneficial effects and the doses of the cannabinoids given are very low.

Perhaps the current best guess for how these chemicals provide their protective effects is that their general dampening of neural activity reduces excitotoxicity (damage caused by overly excited neurons). One of the specific ways this happens is through the inhibition of the glutamate system in the brain. The glutamatergic neurons are part of the excitatory system in the brain; inhibiting glutamate reduces the activity of other neurons. At least in some parts of the brain, activation of the CB1 cannabinoid receptor (a specific type of cannabinoid receptor) has been shown to block pre-synaptic release of glutamate. CB1 receptor activation is also known to inhibit certain calcium channels, directly reducing the production of nitric oxide and other potentially damaging reactive oxygen species
by caregiver222, Oct 16, 2010
Cannibis grown in the United States and Mexico is very likely to have been contaminated by aerial spraying with some of the most powerful neurotoxins known to man. Thus, "street marijuana" is actually (probably) "marijuana plus".

It is all well and good to state that "research has begun to accumulate".

Such a statement is absolutely positively meaningless without a solid medical reference(s). Thus, any advice to smoke marijuana because it "reduces damage" is irresponsible, inappropriate and foolish.

There many people who are also "excited" about the use of astrology and magic crystals and visits to the Dahli Lahma to solve medical problems.
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