TBI (Traumatic brain injury), is an acute event similar to other injuries. A brain injury is different from a broken limb or punctured lung. An injury in these areas limit the use of a specific part of your body, but your personality and mental abilities remain unchanged. Most often, these body structures heal and regain their previous function. One moment the person is normal and the next moment life has abruptly changed. In most other aspects, a traumatic brain injury is very different. Since our brain defines who we are, the consequences of a brain injury can affect all aspects of our lives, including our personality.
Not like other injuries brain injuries do not heal .The recovery is functional, based on mechanisms that remain uncertain. No two brain injuries are alike and the consequence of two similar injuries may be very different. Symptoms may appear right away or may not be present for days or weeks after the injury. One of the consequences of brain injury is that the person often does not realize that a brain injury has occurred.
TBI is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Several studies have demonstrated neuroprotective effects of cannabinoids. The objective of this study was to establish a relationship between the presence of a positive toxicology screen for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and mortality after TBI. A 3-year retrospective review of registry data at a Level I center of patients sustaining TBI having a toxicology screen was performed. Pediatric patients (younger than 15 years) and patients with a suspected nonsurvivable injury were excluded. The THC(+) group was compared with the THC(-) group with respect to injury mechanism, severity, disposition, and mortality. Logistic regression was used to determine independent associations with mortality. There were 446 cases meeting all inclusion criteria. The incidence of a positive THC screen was 18.4 per cent (82). Overall mortality was 9.9 per cent (44); however, mortality in the THC(+) group (2.4% [two]) was significantly decreased compared with the THC(-) group (11.5% ; P = 0.012). After adjusting for differences between the study cohorts on logistic regression, a THC(+) screen was independently associated with survival after TBI (odds ratio, 0.224; 95% confidence interval, 0.051 to 0.991; P = 0.049). A positive THC screen is associated with decreased mortality in adult patients sustaining TBI.
The Common stages to Brain Injury according to the Brain Injury Association of America : In the first few weeks after a brain injury, swelling, bleeding or changes in brain chemistry often affect the function of healthy brain tissue. The injured person's eyes may remain closed, and the person may not show signs of awareness. As swelling decreases and blood flow and brain chemistry improve, brain function usually improves. With time, the person's eyes may open, sleep-wake cycles may begin, and the injured person may follow commands, respond to family members, and speak. Some terms that might be used in these early stages of recovery are:
Coma: The person is unconscious, does not respond to visual stimulation or sounds, and is unable to communicate or show emotional responses.
Vegetative State: The person has sleep-wake cycles, and startles or briefly orients to visual stimulation and sounds. Minimally Conscious State: The person is partially conscious, knows where sounds and visual stimulation are coming from, reaches for objects, responds to commands now and then, can vocalize at times, and shows emotion. A period of confusion and disorientation often follows a TBI. A person's ability to pay attention and learn stops, and agitation, nervousness, restlessness or frustration may appear.
Sleeping patterns may be disrupted. The person may overreact to stimulation and become physically aggressive. This stage can be disturbing for family because the person behaves so uncharacteristically. Inconsistent behavior is also common. Some days are better than others. For example, a person may begin to follow a command (lift your leg, squeeze my finger) and then not do so again for a time. This stage of recovery may last days or even weeks for some. In this stage of recovery, try not to become anxious about inconsistent signs of progress. Ups and downs are normal. Later stages of recovery can bring increased brain and physical function. The person's ability to respond may improve gradually.
Currently, there is no effective drug for the treatment of traumatic brain injury. In the U.S., there are nearly 52,000 deaths and roughly 80,000 cases of severe disability related to traumatic brain injury every year. There are more than 5.3 million people in the U.S. living with disabilities related to traumatic brain injury numbers far greater than those for multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease.
Given the success found in Israel utilizing cannabis to halt TBI in its tracks, it begs the question: can cannabis help persistent TBI symptoms? While effective therapies to treat ongoing TBI symptoms have been difficult to come by, thanks to researchers like Prof. Yosef Sarne of Tel Aviv University, that discovered that by administering THC before or shortly after the injury.
In fact, Israel Defense Force (IDF) practitioners administer or low-dose THC as a first-line treatment to IDF soldiers, and even enemy combatants who suffer brain trauma. Sarne and his team in 2013, demonstrated that administering just a fraction of the amount of THC anywhere from one to seven days prior to, or one to three days after an injury, induces the biochemical processes necessary to protect critical brain cells while preserving long-term cognitive function.
Though controversial, medical cannabis has been gaining ground as a valid therapy, offering relief to suffers of diseases such as cancer, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, ALS and more. The substance is known to soothe severe pain, increase the appetite, and ease insomnia where other common medications fail.
Israel is a world leader in medical cannabis research, Klein says. The active ingredient in marijuana, THC, was first discovered there by Profs. Raphael Mechoulam and Yechiel Gaoni. Prof. Mechoulam is also credited for having defined the endocannabinoid system, which mimics the effects of cannabis and plays a role in appetite, pain sensation, mood and memory.
The drug appears to exert effects similar to other cannabinoids on the brain after injury that is, a decrease in toxic chemicals and swelling. The first two phases of clinical trials were completed in Israel to test for safety. The third and final phase of the trials is set to begin in Europe in January, followed closely by trials in the U.S.