The Potential Effect of CBD on Brain Injury Recovery26 October 2023
Brain injuries often result in permanent damage and a limitation of skills and cognition, but CBD may potentially promote brain recovery. In this blog, you’ll learn more about the properties of CBD Oil and what research suggests about how this natural remedy can assist with brain damage.
CBD with Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injury is one of the leading causes of death worldwide for people under 45. Traumatic brain injury is caused by an accident, external damage, such as a gunshot wound, car accident, or falling and hitting your head.
There’s also non-traumatic brain injury, which arises from a process or condition within the body. Examples include:
- Stroke (brain infarction, cerebral hemorrhage, or TIA)
- Infection, causing brain swelling due to inflammation
- Tumor or growth
- Poisoning (neurotoxic substances are toxic to the nervous system)
- Oxygen deprivation (e.g., due to cardiac arrest, drowning, smoke inhalation, or airway obstruction)
- Metabolic diseases
- Degenerative diseases
Currently, there are essentially no medications that can counteract the harmful mechanisms following brain injury, leading to permanent damage and sometimes even death. Therefore, doctors are looking for safe and effective remedies that can alleviate symptoms, shorten recovery time, and prevent chronic complaints.
CBD might be the solution. This natural substance, derived from the hemp plant, affects inflammatory mechanisms, neurotransmitter systems, and the blood-brain barrier. It is a cannabinoid with anti-inflammatory properties and an antioxidant effect that operates through the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
Research on CBD and Its Effects
When the brain is damaged, a lot happens in the body and brain. The brain produces neurotransmitters and chemical substances that cause inflammation, tissue and blood vessel damage, and even cell death.
These reactions in the brain are called a “secondary brain injury cascade.” It is the cause of many of the neurological problems associated with traumatic brain injury. Research on mice also shows that levels of endocannabinoids (the cannabinoids that the body produces itself) are increased during and after brain injury.
This suggests that the ECS plays a significant role in protecting nerve cells. It appears that CBD may also have neuroprotective properties, and through the ECS, it can help protect the brain in this way.
Neuroprotective Properties of CBD in Brain Injury
Researchers believe that these protective properties of CBD could play a crucial role in limiting or preventing the secondary brain injury cascade.
In a study on rats, it was found that treatment with CBD could reduce levels of extracellular glutamate. Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter (which significantly increases the conductivity of cell membranes). In contrast, GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. It is important that these two substances are balanced; otherwise, the brain cannot function properly.
Immediately after brain damage, glutamate is released, followed by glutamate-induced neurotoxicity. This causes damage to neurons, cell death, and a disruption of the functioning of surviving nerve cells.
CBD appears to be able to protect against cell death caused by glutamate, as it reduces oxidative stress and protects brain cells. This can allow people to heal and recover faster. It is even possible that treatment with CBD before brain injury could already help limit the damage caused by the trauma.
Anti-Inflammatory Properties of CBD
The ECS also plays a role in regulating inflammation. It has long been known that CBD has potent anti-inflammatory properties, which can also have a positive impact in cases of brain injury. After brain damage, an inflammatory response occurs, causing severe inflammation in the nerves and cell degeneration.
Subsequently, microglial cells are activated. These specialized cells are macrophages that clear away dead nerve cells and, in turn, also release inflammatory substances. These acute inflammatory responses are intended to limit further brain damage and initiate the recovery process.
However, intense inflammation leads to prolonged activity of the macrophages, resulting in more oxidative stress and nerve damage. CBD can have a positive effect on inflammatory responses in various ways in cases of brain injury:
- It reduces damage caused by glutamate
- It supports the process of apoptosis (cell death of cells that are damaged and no longer functioning properly)
- Vasodilating properties, improving blood supply, which promotes healing
- Inhibits inflammation by reducing the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines
The benefits of CBD apply to both traumatic and non-traumatic brain injury. Even in cases of damage due to a stroke, CBD appears to increase the chance of survival. It is very important that CBD is administered as soon as symptoms begin.
It is not yet known whether this cannabinoid can also help prevent conditions such as a stroke, TIA, or infarction. But if it can limit the damage, that is, of course, also very valuable.
CBD: Use in Brain Injury or Not?
The fact is, we do not yet precisely know what CBD can mean for brain injury and what exactly the effects are. Many of the studies that have been done were conducted on animals. And the brain is a very complex organ, of which we still do not know everything. So it’s not easy to draw a clear conclusion about how effective CBD is in brain damage.
Yet, it certainly seems worth it to employ this natural remedy in cases of brain injury. First, it is a very safe substance with few side effects. Additionally, there are essentially no other medications that can help. In that sense, you could well say, if it doesn’t help, it doesn’t harm either. And it can contribute a lot to recovery, given the anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties.
Brain damage can have an incredible impact on your life. If CBD can even slightly limit the damage, that is already very valuable. If you want to use this natural product, check our shop for CBD Tablets or CBD food and beverages for different options.