Medical Cannabis & Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic Brain Injury or T.B.I. is a disruption of the normal function of the brain caused by a serious bump or blow to the head. Mild brain injuries can cause temporary disruption while more serious injuries can cause conditions that last a lifetime. Some of these conditions include seizures, blood vessel damage, nerve damage, and intellectual/communication/sensory difficulties. I myself have T.B.I. from being in a car rolling at 80mph down 880 South in California. I have chosen to treat my injuries with great success using medical cannabis rather than opiates or other prescription drugs; but why does cannabis work?

car crash (1)

Cannabis is widely accepted for its anti-inflammatory benefits. Researchers from ETH Zurich and Bonn University studied the effects of a terpene called beta-carophyllene and found it to have amazing pharmacological effects. Beta-carophyllene can be found in strains like OG Kush, Bubba Kush, or AC/DC which would explain their favoring among epilepsy patients. A peppery or spicy taste/smell is a good way to identify this terpene in a cannabis strain.

 

Another relatively unknown medical benefit of cannabis is memory retention. It was known as early as 2005 that alpha-Pinene can inhibit acetylcholinesterase activity in the brain which has been linked to increased memory retention. For me Alpha-Pinene is a go to terpene to promote alertness and clarity on bad cognitive days. Alpha-Pinene is found in strains like Jack Herer, Og Kush, and Dutch Treat and carries a very piney scent.

chi guy

Another contributing factor to the extent of my recovery is the fact that I have refused the use of opiates throughout my entire treatment. Depending on one’s genetic and other health factors the health benefits of opioid pain killers are useful for about 10-14 days after which they begin to slow the bodies healing capability. Long term opioid use can cause a condition known as ischemia, which is a condition where oxygen is cut off and concentrations of Co2 destroy tissue and the immunological process. With my brain already struggling to recover it actually amazed me how bad doctors wanted to put me on a long term opioid regiment.

The forms of medicine I use to manage my T.B.I. varies depending on the desired outcome. My daily regimen of 100-150mg cannabinoids taken by capsules in the morning helps to keep my cannabinoid levels at their optimal treatment point. If I begin to feel odd during the day I prefer to vaporize, or dab. This form of intake is extremely fast acting but rather short lived similar to a rescue inhaler. For sleep, which for us with T.B.I. can be a nightmare in and of itself, I typically use a combination of 100-150mg cannabinoids taken orally and vaporizing to quickly get to my optimal dosage.

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The world can be a pretty scary place after a serious head trauma and with opiates as a main resource for treatment it is common to feel helpless. There are many options for alternative holistic treatments far beyond that of medical cannabis. The most important thing to consider when choosing a new treatment plan is “If this product/treatment will heal me, or just help.”

Anthony Senate

Anthony Rangel is the founder and president of Natures Remedy Collective in Livermore, California. Mr. Rangel is dedicated to making cannabis accessible to patients. He actively advocates for medical cannabis at the Local, State, and Federal level to improve laws on medical cannabis. Mr. Rangel is also a chapter president for the organization Grow for Vets.

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