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CBD and Traumatic Brain Injury

Disruption in the normal functioning of the brain can cause complications. If the concussion is mild, it may temporarily affect your brain cells. However, you can recover within a few weeks and resume your normal activities. But if it’s a traumatic brain injury (TBI), it can cause bruising, torn tissues, bleeding, and even death. Such conditions could arise from a gunshot, car accident, or severe head collision while playing sport. 

TBI is a critical public health and medical problem because of the high rate of mortality and morbidity it causes globally. Research shows that TBI affects about 10 million people annually. Hence, it’s high time to seek measures to address the associated health outcomes.

Recently, scientists found that plant cannabinoids like CBD could lessen tissue damage and trauma after a closed head injury. How can plant-based compounds help with TBI? What do researchers say about the efficacy of CBD for TBI? For more details on this perspective, go through this post.

Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury

 A violent blow, forceful hit, or jolt to the head is usually the cause of TBI. Symptoms are mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the severity of the injury. The common signs are:

  •  Headache
  •  Difficulty sleeping
  •  Nausea
  •  Mood swings
  •  Concentration problem
  •  Sensitivity to sound or light
  •  Fatigue
  •  Dizziness 
  •  Body aches and pains
  •  Anxiety and depression
  •  Change in appetite

These symptoms could include loss of consciousness, chronic pain, or repeated vomiting if the head injury is severe. A medical professional will suggest treatment according to the trauma caused and your health condition. It may include surgery, cognitive behavioral therapy, or medications. 

However, most prescription drugs contain synthetic chemicals that can be harmful to the body at high doses. To avoid adverse effects, many people are turning to CBD for relief. Fortunately, CBD treatment helps treat impaired brain functions without any side effects. Anecdotal evidence shows that CBD is better than over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications.

Role of CBD in treating TBI

 CBD can reduce the trauma and symptoms followed by brain injury. It works for TBI by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

According to a 2011 article in the British Journal of Pharmacology, the ECS is a “self-protective mechanism” that kicks into high gear in response to a stroke or TBI. Researchers notice that endocannabinoids in the brain increase during and soon after a TBI. These endogenous compounds overcome the ECS deficiency. They activate cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) and protect against TBI-induced motor and neurological deficits.

CBD also protects the brain by boosting endocannabinoid levels. It is an exogenous compound with a chemical structure similar to endogenous cannabinoids. It produces many effects through multiple molecular pathways, including serotonin receptors.

According to a 2016 study, CBD works as an anandamide reuptake and breakdown inhibitor. It enhances endocannabinoid levels in the brain synapses. CBD confers neuroprotective effects against many medical conditions through reuptake inhibition. Though other phytocannabinoids like THC affect ECS significantly, many physicians believe CBD is a safer and more effective treatment. It’s a non-intoxicating cannabinoid that possesses analgesic, neuroprotective, and anti-inflammatory properties.

A preliminary study shows that CBD is a potent antioxidant agent that exhibits effects better than THC. It functions effectively without developing tolerance.

Benefits of using CBD for TBI

CBD draws attention as a potential treatment for many disorders ranging from cancer to epilepsy. It is highly sought after by the medical community and cannabis users. Now neuroimaging studies suggest that CBD induces significant alterations in brain activity. It can effectively help relieve signs and symptoms of TBI. Here’s a discussion on its potential benefits for brain injuries.

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Protects brain cells from harm

Oxidation plays a role in brain tissue deterioration and is partially responsible for the damage. Research indicates that CBD works as an antioxidant and binds to CB2 receptors to reduce oxidative stress. The compound also elicits anti-inflammatory reactions in immune cells located in the brain. It minimizes the extent to which inflammation causes brain damage.

Defends against psychosis and seizures

CBD appears to control seizures by lowering the excitation levels of brain cells involved in the condition. CBD inhibits seizure-causing brain mechanisms by increasing the release of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA. Besides this, the cannabinoid has antipsychotic properties. It boosts anandamide levels in the brain. Increased anandamide levels in the brain can help reduce psychotic symptoms.

Alleviates inflammatory pain 

For thousands of years, cannabis has come into use for treating pain. While THC has long been known for its pain-killing properties, studies show that CBD can help relieve pain more effectively. CBD mitigates pain by acting on CB2 receptors primarily found in immune cells. CB2 receptors are in charge of cellular functions that suppress the inflammatory response produced by immune cells. CBD reduces the number of inflammatory molecules present at sites of inflammation, such as chemokines and cytokines. CBD’s ability to reduce inflammation peripherally helps block pain signals transmitting to the brain.

Relieves anxiety and depression

CBD decreases blood flow to the brain regions connected to anxiety, such as the hypothalamus. It becomes overactive in patients with anxiety disorders. CBD works for various anxiety disorders, including panic, social, obsessive-compulsive, and PTSD. Additionally, CBD has antidepressant properties. It can help people experiencing depression due to TBI. CBD can relieve stress symptoms by acting on a serotonin receptor and restoring ECS balance.

Guidelines to use CBD for your medical condition 

From tinctures to edibles and beverages, CBD is available in multiple forms. For whole-body relief, it is best to take your dose sublingually. When you place tincture drops beneath your tongue, it enters your bloodstream rapidly via your mucus membrane. It generates a quick response because it bypasses the digestive tract and liver processing. Another option is to inhale CBD through joints, e-cigarettes, or vaping pens. Inhalations also offer immediate onset, but you have less control of your dose. 

Your choice of CBD usage depends on your preference and needs. Some people prefer to mix CBD with their regular food to mask the earthy bitter taste. Many use CBD-based topicals for localized pain relief. Regardless of the method you choose, make sure to consume quality products. Buy only from certified vendors selling hemp-derived cannabis derivatives with a THC content of less than 0.3 percent.


TBI is one of the leading causes of death in people under 45 years of age worldwide. Symptoms can include cognitive, behavioral, movement-related, speech and visual impairment, mood changes, headaches, and gastrointestinal issues. Fortunately, CBD helps patients who sustained a brain injury. It offers a holistic approach to recovering from your condition. 

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