Marijuana May Protect the Brain From Traumatic Injury, Study Suggests

People who use marijuana may be more likely to survive a serious head injury than people who don’t, a new study suggests.

At one hospital, the death rate after traumatic brain injury was lower among people who tested positive for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the active ingredient in marijuana) than among people who tested negative for it, researchers found.

“This data fits with previous data showing that [THC] may be neuroprotective,” said Dr. David Plurad, one of the study’s authors.

Experiments in animals have found that THC may protect the brain after injury, Plurad and his colleagues write in The American Surgeon. Little is known about the specific effects of THC on brain injury in humans, however.

For the new study, the researchers reviewed data on 446 adults treated at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, Calif., for traumatic brain injuries. All had been tested for THC.

Overall, approximately one in five patients tested positive for THC and one in 10 patients died after their injury.

About 2.4 per cent of people who tested positive for THC died, compared with about 11.5 per cent of those with negative THC tests.

– Read the entire article at The Globe and Mail.