Compounds in marijuana dramatically protect brain cells during acute head trauma, according to research findings published in this week's Journal of Neuroscience. Researchers reported that THC injected intracerebrally in rats significantly "reduce[d] neuronal injury ... compared with control animals."
Scientists concluded, "These results provide evidence that the cannabinoid system can serve to protect the brain against neurodegeneration."
NORML Foundation Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said that the findings should dispel myths that marijuana is toxic to the brain. "This research indicates that just the opposite is true" he said.
Former NORML Foundation Chairman Dr. Lester Grinspoon, author of Marijuana: The Forbidden Medicine, said the study confirms earlier research performed in Israel and the US showing cannabinoids to be potent anti-oxidants. He added that smoked marijuana likely also possesses the same neuroprotective properties.
In their 1999 report Marijuana as Medicine: Assessing the Science Base, authors at the Institute of Medicine noted, "One of the most prominent new applications for cannabinoids is for 'neuroprotection,' the rescue of neurons from cell death associated with trauma ... and neurological diseases."
For more information, please contact Paul Armentano or Allen St. Pierre of The NORML Foundation at (202) 483-8751.