Traumatic brain injuries can change a person’s
life forever. These types of injuries may leave the body vulnerable to other
serious adverse medical events. In this guide we’ll explain what a traumatic
brain injury is, how the endocannabinoid system comes into play and what the
potential benefits of CBD for traumatic brain injury recovery are.
a Traumatic Brain Injury?
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is when normal
functions in the brain are disrupted following a hit to the head. Concussions
are mild forms of TBI. Temporary cell dysfunction in the brain is typical
following a concussion. Harder blows to the head can cause tissue bruising,
tearing or bleeding. These situations can become emergent and life threatening.
When brain cells are damaged, it can be
widespread in multiple areas of the brain or concentrated to one specific area.
In cases of widespread damage, the brain may be able to move back and forth
inside the skull causing additional bleeding and/or swelling in the brain.
Inflammation in the brain can increase the damage and may pose more serious
Some instances of TBI do allow a person to
achieve a full recovery, but more serious TBI cases may result in permanent
damage that may reduce quality of life and cause additional health conditions
such as depression, PTSD, irritability or cognitive function deficiencies.
Sensory and some behavioral issues may also arise.
Treatment of TBI depends on the severity of
the injury and the overall health of the patient. Minor TBIs are often resolved
from over-the-counter options that would be used for common headaches and a lot
of rest. More severe instances of TBI may require surgery, physical therapy,
speech therapy and a list of medications to limit potential additional damage,
such as fluid buildup in the brain.
Millions of people around the world die from TBI each year.
Role of the Endocannabinoid System in Healing from TBI
The endocannabinoid system produces
cannabinoids naturally. It also helps the central and peripheral nervous
systems regulate themselves. CB1 and CB2 receptors are found throughout the
body. Cannabinoids are able to bind to these receptors to help correct
deficiencies, imbalances and other issues in the body.
The immune system is also helped by the
endocannabinoid system. In autoimmune diseases, the immune system may attack
itself which causes the body to be unable to fight off bad bacteria and be more
resistant to germs, toxins and other illness-causing factors.
Now, why does proper endocannabinoid system
regulation matter when it comes to TBI? Well, CBD is a known anti-inflammatory
and neuroprotectant. As CBD enters the body, it can attach to necessary
receptors to aid the body in sending the appropriate signals to potentially
correct an issue. Inflammation is very common in cases of TBI. Neuroinflammation can become serious and
cerebrovascular breakdowns can occur. Serious cases of TBI may result in random
seizures and other disturbances. CBD is an anti-convulsant as well (CBD has
over 2-dozen therapeutically beneficial properties), so it may be able to help
prevent seizures associated with TBI as it helps the endocannabinoid system
calm the brain.
The endocannabinoid system can’t always
produce the cannabinoids the body needs to heal itself, so introducing
cannabinoids from an outside source (such as CBD or cannabinoids from cannabis)
may provide what the body needs.
Some scientific evidence suggests that the
endocannabinoid system in relation to pathogenic events may have a part in
compensatory repair mechanisms triggering them to work properly.
Benefit of Adding CBD to your Treatment Regimen
Several properties of CBD may help improve
recovery for those with TBI. Thoughts may become clearer. Cognitive function as
a whole may improve. Brain swelling may decrease. Agitation/frustration may
decrease. Anxiety and/or PTSD may subside. Sleep may become attainable.
One of the jobs of CBD is to help the mind and
body relax. Its calming effects may reduce the experience of confusion in those
with TBI, similarly to the way it may help those with aging brains to have
clearer thoughts and improved cognitive function.
As a neuroprotectant, CBD may be able to help
prevent further damage to nerves in the brain and may help repair damaged
nerves. Nerves are finicky as they either heal or they don’t. There really
isn’t a way to force a nerve to heal, sometimes they do, sometimes they just
TBI may cause additional disruptions in the
body, such as difficulty sleeping if the brain is unable to tell itself to shut
down for rest. Full spectrum CBD products may help – especially those that
include plant-derived terpenes to potentially boost their effectiveness.
Plant-based terpenes have accepted therapeutic benefits and are found in
thousands of plants, herbs, trees and flowers.
By adding CBD to your daily treatment regimen,
you may be able to improve your recovery efforts and may be able to experience
a more normal response to situations in life. Responses may not be as delayed.
Memories may be clearer. Confusing words or being able to form proper sentences
may return. Coordination and mobility may improve as it’s the brain’s job to
tell the body when and how to move in response to signals. Inflammation
reduction is very important as it helps keep the brain firing as it should and
reduces stress on the organ itself.
CBD Delivery Methods
There are several types of CBD products that
may be ideal for those with TBI. Tinctures are quite convenient and are very
easy to use. They are made from cannabis plants, and if they’re high quality
cannabis plants, they are most likely derived from ILGM’s
famous cannabis seeds. The liquid is held under the tongue for a
full minute and is then swallowed. While under the tongue, the body starts
absorbing the CBD sublingually so it can get to work a little faster. If a sudden
onset of symptoms occurs, it may be one of the better options to settle those
CBD capsules are ideal for those that are new
to CBD and don’t want to smoke any form of CBD. Capsules require digestion, so
changes to symptoms may not be noticed for an hour or so. Capsules are in
measured doses and may help provide relief for a few hours.
CBD edibles are becoming more popular. One of
the benefits of CBD edibles is that you can ingest a larger dose safely and may
be able to experience some relief for multiple hours. Higher doses of CBD may
provide relief for 8-hours or more.
Another fast-acting option is CBD vape. Seek
out full spectrum CBD vape products as isolates don’t tend to be very
efficient. Full spectrum means whole plant – it’s not just extracting CBD and
leaving the rest of the hemp plant behind.
There are varying degrees of TBI and not all
cases are permanent. Traditional treatments may be harsh on the body and some
serious side effects could occur. Implementing CBD into your daily regimen may
help those side effects become less noticeable, may stop them or may even
become a replacement for some medications. It is important to discuss using CBD
with your neurologist or treating physician first to ensure that there won’t be
an interaction with your other medications. CBD isn’t likely to cause
interactions though. While your doctor may not be able to suggest a specific
dose, start small and increase very slowly to determine what your individual
ideal dose is.