Marijuana Can Treat Brain Injuries
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) Those of us old enough to remember the ads featuring a frying egg in a pan, with a somber voice intoning "This is your brain on drugs," may find a little irony then, that research in the last decade (from Israel in particular) is concluding unequivocally that marijuana, if not the other cannabinoids in the natural plant, is perhaps the only if not best drug out there for those who suffer brain injuries.
Over 50,000 civilian deaths occur in the U.S. every year from the same not to mention over 80,000 serious disabilities. Brain injuries if not neurological conditions are far off the map in terms of care if not treatment. Neurology very much is still an emerging science.
It is an issue that seems quite confusing to American media outlets if not the medical industry and neurologists. In particular. Blame it on the enticing ad budgets of the National Drug Council (mobile or not) in the former case if not vested interests in the latter.
Then there is the VA (Veterans Affairs).
Over the last decade, in particular, the issue of medical use of marijuana if not cannabinoids, has been on a front burner agency wide, particularly in states like Colorado, where drug testing for benefits has gone the way of the dodo. Traumatic brain injury (or TBI) is also dubbed the "signature wound" of the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
As Israeli research has already found (if not Israeli development of drugs containing them or synthetic variations of the same), these compounds offer the most hope for those who frequently have no other options. Administration of cannabinoid compounds at the scene of accidents, for example, can literally make the difference between life or death, if not serious, long term disability.
One of the more interesting cannabinoids is called 2-AG, which works in three ways. It reduces the production of glutamate, a toxic brain chemical released after injury. Second, it reduces another brain-manufactured chemical created by trauma which induces inflammation (one of the most deadly aspects of brain injuries). 2-AG also increases blood supply which induces healing and circulation.
But how will science impact public policy this time around at what many consider to be a new dawning if not widespread interest in marijuana for medicinal purposes.
An Israeli pharmaceutical called Dexanabinol has just entered trials in Europe after extensive testing in Israel and is bound for U.S. trials later this year. It is of a different chemistry than THC, the best known cannabinoid in marijuana, and therefore affects slightly different parts of the brain. It does not produce "a high," for example. From personal experience ( I have a rare neurological condition ), there is no noticeable "high" from the "real thing" when you are in pain.