- D.H. Reilly
North Carolina man attributes recovery from traumatic brain injury to cannabis
One of the great things about writing for a company that helps people get a North Carolina Marijuana Card is seeing more and more people coming to realize that cannabis really, actually, honestly and truly is medicine.
Recently, a North Carolina man who had suffered a severe head trauma made headlines when he attributed his significantly improved condition to marijuana. While the media tended to frame this as a novel idea, the fact is that science has been aware of the evidence showing that marijuana can give your brain a boost.
A Brain Injury, Coma, and Two Strokes, Followed by Recovery with Marijuana
Jordan Slade, of the Research Triangle, suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2019 when one of his tires blew out and he crashed his car into an abandoned home.
As part of his treatment, Slade was placed in a medically induced coma. He would go on to have two strokes related to his injury, and struggled to recover for a couple of years.
And then he tried marijuana.
While marijuana isn’t legal in North Carolina (yet!), a frustrated Slade tried it after nothing else seemed to help his condition. Now he is much improved and planning to go back to school to prepare him to open his own dispensary.
And Slade told WRAL, Raleigh’s NBC affiliate, that he attributes his remarkable turnaround to marijuana.
“I was able to stop taking 13 different medications that I was supposed to be on for the rest of my life,” Slade told WRAL.
Slade said he tried CBD, but found it did little for him. “I had very minor benefits from it. It wasn't enough for me to keep doing it,” Slade said.
Science Says Medical Marijuana for Brain Health is a No-Brainer
Science has long been aware of findings that suggest that marijuana can have restorative effects on fully-developed, adult brains.
Back in 2016, researchers at the University of Bonn and Hebrew University of Jerusalem discovered that low doses of THC may help to keep our brains maintain performance as we age.
Appearing in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Medicine, the researchers’ study showed that while younger mice showed declines in cognitive tasks while on THC, it gave older mice a significant boost, even allowing them to equal the performance of younger mice who had not been given any THC.
The findings supported the researchers’ hypothesis that THC could stimulate the brain’s endocannabinoid system, a biochemical pathway in both mice and human brains that grows less active as it ages.
The researchers concluded that the results “reveal a profound, long-lasting improvement of cognitive performance resulting from a low dose of THC treatment.” And if they’re right that this performance boost is from stimulating the endocannabinoid system, then theoretically human brains could show the same result.
The study was a follow-up to previous research at the University of Bonn and the University of Mainz that had also indicated that the endocannabinoid system was closely related to brain health in later life, and that when it’s active it helps prevent brain degeneration.
More Medical Marijuana Research is Needed, but It’s Hard to Produce
Of course far more research built on this work is needed before science can unambiguously affirm medical marijuana’s efficacy as a brain aide. Unfortunately, marijuana research in America is hard to come by.
Last year, Dr. Staci Gruber, a psychiatrist and faculty member at Harvard, told Discover Magazine of the difficulty she had encountered in conducting research related to marijuana.
Gruber is the director of Marijuana Investigations for Neuroscientific Discovery (MIND), an organization she founded in 2015. According to Gruber, at that time there were almost no studies that had been conducted to investigate medical marijuana’s effects on the brain. “I could find nothing in the literature,” she said.
Outdated Stigmas Hamper Medical Marijuana Research
Marijuana is so rarely studied in the United States because of all of the legal roadblocks that stem from the medicine’s quasi-legal status.
Discover Magazine described U.S. marijuana research as “bottlenecked because of limitations on studying the Cannabis sativa plant, some parts of which remain a Schedule I drug.”
Although medical marijuana is legal in 36 states, the DEA continues to classify it as a Schedule I drug, meaning it is a substance with “no currently accepted medical use” and a “high potential for abuse.” That then creates legal roadblocks for researchers who would better understand the much maligned medicine.
Medical Marijuana Research “Bottleneck” Creates Vicious Circle
In describing one way in which restrictions on marijuana research hamper her work, Gruber gave the example of a frustrating cycle she experiences whenever she testifies about the medicine to legislative bodies.
Gruber explained to Discovery Magazine that legislators often call on her and other scientists to help them better understand how to regulate marijuana. Unfortunately, due to the obstacles to conducting research, those scientists are often unable to offer concrete proof of marijuana’s safety and efficacy, leading those legislators to leave research barriers in place for fear of the unknown.
Don’t Fear the Unknown; Our Doctors are Here to Answer Your Medical Marijuana Questions
While you cannot yet get a North Carolina Medical Marijuana Card, you don’t have to wait for our state legislators to catch up with the times before you get your cannabis journey started.
Reserve an evaluation today with one of our highly knowledgeable doctors, and we’ll book an appointment for you just as soon as North Carolina’s medical marijuana market is up and running.
You’ll meet with your doctor virtually over your smartphone or computer in a telemedicine appointment. Together, you’ll discuss your condition and how you might be able to find relief with medical marijuana. You’ll even save $25 off the cost of your evaluation!
Doctors Who Care. Relief You Can Trust.
Helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care..
If you have any questions, call us at (833) 781-7320, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
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