Marijuana Use Is Associated With Increased Survival In Brain Injury Patients

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients with a history of cannabis use possess increased survival rates compared to non-users, according data published this month in the scientific journal The American Surgeon.

UCLA Medical Center investigators conducted a three-year retrospective review of brain trauma patients. Data from 446 separate cases of similarly injured patients was assessed. Of those patients who tested positive for the presence of marijuana, 97.6 percent survived surgery. By contrast, patients who tested negative for the presence of pot prior to surgery possessed only an 88.5 percent survival rate.

“[O]ur data suggest an important link between the presence of a positive THC screen and improved survival after TBI,” the authors concluded. “This finding has support in previous literature because the neuroprotective effects of cannabinoids have been implicated in a variety of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. … With continued research, more information will be uncovered regarding the therapeutic potential of THC, and further therapeutic interventions may be established.”

The abstract of the study, “Effect of marijuana use on outcomes in traumatic brain injury,” appears online here.

39 thoughts

  1. My father had PTSD and TBI from being a Marine in the Pacific in WWII. He couldn’t control his violence. I wish I could go back in time and give him weed instead of Johnny Walker as a remedy. How many people have had that same fantasy about their combat veteran fathers, I wonder.

  2. This is very interesting. I had a terrible brain injury about ten years ago back when I was smoking everyday. Doctors said I probably wouldn’t ever be the same. I was in the hospital for five weeks, but when I got out I smoked pretty frequently. I feel like I had a pretty good recovery. Now I got a job that randomly drug tests me so I don’t puff. I sure hope rules change soon…

  3. I finally had some blood work done via my physician’s recommendation. A decade ago I was being treated for high blood pressure, excess cholesterol, addison’s disease, depression, and taking a mild anti-pyschotic. I had very mild cases of all of them from what I can tell, but I no longer need any of them. I’m working out twice a week and doing something else on other days. I avoid fats and sugars. I eat healthy, but not obsessively so. I write songs and play guitar for my soul and record my creations to exercise my mind. I’m vaporizing once a day for writing and practice. Life is good. I’d like to keep it that way.

  4. I know Dyslexia is supposed to only be about reading letters and numbers backward, and that few people have it. However, that has not been my experience in life. Everyone I have test dyslexia for shows some small signs of it being present. Everyone! This makes me believe it is actually a positive trait that helps humans survive. Perhaps we all have lie detecting hardware in our heads. And the way it works is by instantaneous running what we just saw/heard/read backwards and testing if that is a logical 180. If not, then what was just seen/heard/observed is not true or at least attached to some kind of scam.

    I truly believe some of the people afraid of marijuana literally thinking backward on the subject, and probably apply this backward thinking, a dyslexic style of applying logic in reverse, but it feels correct to them. That is why logic does work at convincing them. They really do think arresting innocent people and making Cartels money is somehow going to work someday… That doing it backward will work, we just have to get everyone to think backwards too! They are logical handicapped, even if they sound like they are intelligent their dyslexia keeps them from adopting solutions that actually work. It just doesn’t feel right to them, like they are a gay person being forced to marry someone of the opposite sex! They have to be forced out of the way for progress to move forward. Logical planning for a better society is something Prohibitionists are not able to utilize; somewhere a long the way they start feeling like they aren’t hurting their neighbors quite enough for things to work out for the better. Sure a lot of it is simple greed, but that doesn’t explain the brain deadness of their policies–you can make money without hurting people and sidelining entire communities.

    Their inability to see a better future with legal marijuana, considering how all other drugs come with a host of health issues and lots of social problems while marijuana does not, is extremely dyslexic in nature. To keep on placing marijuana next to heroin and meth actually demonstrates a handicap in someone of people that believe marijuana is a schedule one material. Prohibition of marijuana for making life better is like someone asking for money to cut down trees to help reduce CO2 emissions, the only question should be, “What the fuck are you talking about?” It just doesn’t make any sense, not in a free country and not even in a fascist country.

  5. this doesn’t seem very accurate because out of those 446 patients how many actually tested positive for thc? dont you think you would get more accurate results if you took 446 people who tested positive and 446 who tested negative for thc.

  6. This is the kind of news that will never be seen on shows like Good Morning America. That’s because they truly seem to be very prohibitionist in nature. They were all over a recent study that was very anti-marijuana… I believe the way they reported the studies findings clearly showed an extreme prejudice against anything cannabis.

  7. @anon

    From the abstract: “There were 446 cases meeting all inclusion criteria. The incidence of a positive THC screen was 18.4 per cent (82).”

    Out of the 446, 82 tested positive for marijuana. In this study ‘marijuana’ seems to be inferred from a positive THC test.

    This appears to be a meta-study designed to extract significant statistical results from existing data. What you’re suggesting is a study designed from the ground up to test the hypothesis that THC can help victims survive brain trauma.

    Unfortunately, prohibitionists have rigged the government apparatchik by denying marijuana to researchers seeking to investigate its medical efficacy. After assuring this research can’t be performed, they triumphantly declare that the FDA recognizes no medical uses for marijuana.

    To thwart the advance of medical science in this way is a crime against us all. Those most responsible should be pursued with the same zealous cruelty they saw fit to inflict on the rest of their fellow Americans. They deserve it.

  8. Warning: the following information contains shocking and sometimes violent imagery that may be unsuitable yet necessary for your children to understand; Reader discretion is advised;

    Patent 6630507: “cannabinoids as neuroprotectants,” 2001, is owned by the Department of Health and Human Services; The same Department that will take state custody of your child and place them into potentially violent, unaccountable, unsupervised private adoption for profit. Even if you are supplying marijuana to your child for a neurodegenerative, potentially lethal disease such as muscular dystrophy or epilepsy, or a game of American football, and a non-psychoactive strain of marijuana such as Charlottes Web is the only proven non toxic treatment available to save your child’s life, our current laws will hit you with felony distribution to a child, child endangerment, negligence per SE and all while the Department of Health:
    1) receives federal grants worth millions to meet a quota for private adoption
    2) receives $5,000 kickbacks from the DEA to close drug related offenses through the S.O.D. Program
    3) switches judges until one that receives campaign kickbacks hears their case
    4) requires the foster parent to administer toxic prescription pills for the child even when the side effects are as lethal as the illness itself.
    5) intimidates the parents into signing the rights of their child away as standard operating procedure, bullying them into believing they are bad parents for providing the sick child with marijuana
    6) owns the patent 6630507 that if made open source, would provide the proper treatment that which the D.H.H.S. Is actively prohibiting.

    Donate to NORML PAC. Download your local NORML voters guide. Write your State and local Congressman. Get out and VOTE.
    Together, we can end this government sanctioned violence we call prohibition.

  9. @ Julian,

    Yeah, but uhh, they have to make marijuana into a pill with deathly “side effects” in order to make it safe for kids to take first. Don’t you get that only pills are the safe way to utilize the components of marijuana? Just ask anyone nut job with Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder. Even though pills kill thousands of people each year, somehow they are “safer” when control freaks get involved. And they even say the reason the pills are safer is because “we know exactly how much is in each pill, while marijuana comes in a variety of strengths and so cannot be used safely”. Notice how they never explain how it isn’t safe? They just say it is??? Did they forgot the drugs pills are made from are deadly toxins? Or do they believe we forgot we don’t want to give poisons to our kids?

  10. How do you think it feels to have epilepsy pass out then fall down and hit your head? I know someone who has epilepsy right here were I work, and she did. Maybe Idaho congressman Chuck Winder would like to try it? Grrrrr..

  11. Correction; while American football may be potentially lethal due to traumatic brain injury, i in NO way meant to call it a disease… Unless you happen to have a gambling habit and you’ve been betting against the Cowboys in 4 out of the last 5 games, then you need to seek treatment. Which is to say, light it up.
    Incidentally, as studies like these continue to pour out of the grips of the ONDCP, it looks increasingly likely the NFL will be looking at sponsorships from the growing marijuana industry and advocate legalization of marijuana to save our sport from recent, brain trauma, alcohol and domestic abuse scandals.
    Smoking marijuana during a football game is not only therapeutic for the players, its part of an American pastime that dates back to the origins of American football since it derived from American Indian Lacrosse and English Rugby. Both were traditionally violent games best remedied by a victory smoke-circle around a camp fire grill. Yes there were good American ales to wash down the barbecue, but the event of passing the pipe after the game is a crucial part of what created this nation we call the United States of America.
    Its time for the NFL to wake up and smell the peace pipe. And im not only talking about my 1/12th Cherokee brothers who feel entitled to keep the name “Redskins.” (We wouldn’t call them the “Whiteskins or the Blackskins” would we? Change the f’n name! How bout “the Skins” and just use a pigskin as the mascot… What original footballs were made of… Could keep the maroon color of the team…)
    Hey, if Washington DC Legalizes in a few weeks, why not change the color all together and call them the Washington Greenskins?

  12. Well, I now suffer from PTSD, but I got my skull cracked in an assault in prison where I was serving a 15-year sentence for allegedly growing 28.83 grams of weed. The charges were phony, and I nearly received a death sentence. I guess the seizures are an acceptable side-effect of 15-years in prison for weed. I started a petition today and since I stated the Missouri Governor committed perjury, I am obligated to prove it, so his perjured document is attached at:

  13. I wonder if marijuana would help with concussive brain injuries that have become the bane of football players. One former NFL player shot himself through the heart to escape the headaches. He wanted to leave his injured brain to science. This is the first year baseball tried to control collisions at the plate — no more catcher’s blocking the plate or base runners bowling the catcher over as attempt to cross home plate.

    Seems like it’s not helpful in alleviating pain after a career is over and the damage has been done, because the athletes would have discovered this by now; but would it help in somehow ameliorating the damage done by repeated concussions when used over the years?

  14. @Galileo;
    Search the New York Times for “NFL’sAbsurd Marijuana Policy” by former Broncos running back Nate Jackson. Its a good read and an excellent analysis of current NFL policy and pain management of all kinds, not only brain trauma, for which marijuana clearly plays a medicinally productive role.

  15. And for a hilarious parody on the Redskins name controversy and the level of alcohol at NFL games, check out the dailyshow website with Jon Stewart. Jason Patrick is doing shots, drinking beer and says, “I finally understood where the fans were coming from…”
    Theres also a great Times article on how marijuana culture is alive at Broncos tailgating parties in Colorado.

  16. I was ejected from a flipping car at 60 mph. Landed on my head. Had reconstruction done to the front right side of face and skull. I woke up three days later. Other than seizure issues for a while, everything is aok. Boy am I glad I am a puffer.

  17. @Julian, yeah, maybe some good can come out of Concussion football– naming some franchise the Greenskins– and out of Combustion jointsmoking– pass a law requiring all joints to be made with green paper. (Puff, pass…)

    Just kiddin’, being of the Flexible Drawtube One-Hitter persuasion I’d really like to see ALL H-ot B-urning O-verdose M-onoxide dope paper entirely disappear into the History Trivia Recycling Basket, along with massive populations of able-bodied men sittin’ around watchin’ somebody else play ball (and washin’ it down with gulped overdoses of uberoverpriced ale) instead of doing eminently fantasy-rich interesting hand(f)work.

    Tech idea– if you must watch that vicarious sport crap, set up the screen slightly above and behind your workbench where you do your cutting, sanding, filing, drilling, hammering etc. and develop cannabinoid-assisted multitask shared-attention skills (CAMSAS).

  18. @Dave Evans,The “dyslexia” that you’re referring to,is not an accident,it is done intentionally to Polarize the Good versus Bad,Right versus Wrong-mentality.They don’t want to concede to the grey area,because that would open up to many doors,to many questions.So the lie has to remain complete.

  19. Fed-up. I know it is a scam. You know it is a scam. However, most of our fellow Americans still believe marijuana is the same thing as cigarettes, alcohol and meth! Just ask any of them. I get peppered with questions all the time about why I disparage tobacco, but smoke marijuana!!! They do not see any difference between the two, there is nothing for them to “conceed” on the subject. I’m discussing the difference between a the scam artists and the “true believers”. I do believe we still have millions of people that believe marijuana to be something it is not, yet they still believe it should be legal.

    But they are not actually talking about marijuana, they are still taking about that Evil Boogie Weed, hence there is still too much bullshit attached to the subject to even to able to discuss marijuana policy as they don’t have a clue–even if they think it “should be legal”.

  20. And no, calling it “cannabis” is not going to “change how they think about it”. In fact, the average person doesn’t even know there is more than one species of Cannabis. When you say “Cannabis sativa” to someone, you might as well be saying “abracadabra shumagbee”. That is all they hear for the most part!

  21. @Dave Evans, @Fed-Up is right, it is done intentionally, the corporations BI-POLARIZE the psyches of millions of Joe Six-paks to maximize sales of beer, $igarettes, kawfy etc.

    The bipolarized person lives in Depression (Deep Prison) most of the month, but when they get a paycheck or pension they suddenly have money– MANIA, which in many women particularly takes the form of SHOPAHOLIC, compulsively buying garments, shoes, perfume, pop, meat etc., in men particularly BINGE-DRINKING and other sudden outbursts of heroic hard stuff overdose. When it’s time to pay, that’s when MANIC turns to PANIC (“Pay unto others as you would have them Pay unto you”).

    The part of the month when the money is used up is Depression (alias Debtorprison), or FROZEN PANIC. Victims caught in this cycle are characteristically careless with money, feeding the profits of predatory corporations which don’t want cannabis legalized because it will help millions of moderate users substitute fascinating but practical DIY handwork for the vicarious moneyfritterin’ mania of drunkenness or shopaholism.

  22. Also Fed-up,

    There is no “grey area”. Marijuana is supposed to be legal!!! Nearly all experts that have studied real marijuana, not “Magic Boogie Weed” have said making it illegal is “not consistent with American Values”. That this kind of Probibition “is not consistent with our Consitution”? This is what our drug policy experts do say. Over and over for at least 42 years now.

    Only paid shills employing the histrionic, “The sky is falling, it is marijuana’s fault, soon blacks and whites will start making babies together! Your daughter became a slut thanks to marijuana usage!” style bullshit that is Marijuana Prohibition. Nothing but Bullshit Lies, and is unsupported by anyone whose ever studied the subject, exept for a few kooks that actually believe in their silly ideas.

  23. @Dave Evans,i thought you’re dyslexia analogy was interesting,and thats why i commented on it. Conveying something that is backwards or a lie, is called “double speak,designed to be hypnotic,like back- masking of lyrics in music,and I’m sure that most speech writers have some knowledge of psychology and hypnosis,to try to pull that kind of shit off.
    The comparison i should have used,when talking about Polarity was:Left versus Right,regarding politics,and how the two party system is designed. while all the real decisions and actions are done through the executive branch.A president of either party comes into office,as a replacement and an alternative for the “damages” the last president did,they carry out their ‘missions” for their corporate sponsors,this gets a reaction from the people of the opposing party,and then the pendulum swings in the opposite direction.The people at “the top know this.For example.A few years ago ,after Colorado and Washington legalized,There was a rumor that was started, that legalization was some kind ploy by the government to pacify the people so they could
    take away their guns,of course this rumor was designed to appeal to the right wingers that want their gun rights,but fortunately most people could see through the deception,and it never really got off the ground.

    I think a lot of prohibitionist are hoping for a pendulum swing after Obama leaves office,And a ‘conservative” takes charge, and reverses our new cannabis laws,something like what happened in the early 80s with the Reagan administration.All i can say is keep dreaming.Because the senior citizens of today grew up during the 1960s and early 70s and know whats up! and so do the subsequent generations .

    @mexweed,good insights as well.

  24. We are at tipping point, but no one except for potheads know anything about marijuana.

    We are the experts they are still side-lining. We can’t lead society on this subject from a jail cell or from under a pile of deparging remarks.

    We have about 50% for legalization and 50% against. Yet, if we add up all lawyers, pigs (police without any act right), prisons for profit (which equals immense waste). We will find only a tiny percentage is actually making a profit on Marijuana Prohibition. We are talking about less than 7% of the population. So if we take our population numbers, we get: USA 319,510,848 – (police 780,000 + lawyers 1,225,452 + Corrections Officers 454,500 and (jail owners 3,365 will x by 100 for all the hanger ons/leaches making money on stolen money) jail profitteers 336,500) 2,796,452 (profiteers) = 316,714,396 people being ripped off.

    The profiteers only equal about 0.8 percent of the population. Less than one percent! Literally, 48% of our fellow Americans suppose being ripped for stupidity! Only for the profit on 0.8% or 2,796,452 of our people do we throw the rest of the rights of our fellows in the trash.

    (.008 x 319,510,848) = 316,714,396 people are finacially suffering under these crazy laws. Good people around the world look at our country and see nothing but corruption as we can’t reign in our kooks or bad spending habits. These lying goons belong in low wage jobs pushing a broom, but instead they are writing laws for US.

  25. And thus, only about 1% of Americans makes money on making the rest of US poorer.

    %50 still believe this scam is for real and that we must do something to stop marijuana from damaging more people, when nothing of the sort is even going on. Why do so many people (about 50%) prefer being lied to??? A full 48% of the people that still want to keep marijuana illegal are literally voluteering to throw their and our rights in trash over fear mongering. They have no finicial interests in maintaining the Status Quo. Their interests are realized when marijuana becomes legal, but they are too mentally handicapped to understand facts. Bullshit nonlogic takes precedence as it sounds more reasonable to the handicapped. Then they call us mentally defective for having used marijuana. Exactly like a rapist who says, “No means Yes to me”, “She was asking for it”. Blaming the victims for the “problems” they insist on creating.

  26. My name is Mark Cunningham, and I suffered a traumatic brain injury due from a car accident 5/16/04 . Doctors then told my family while I was was in acomma that I would never fully recover due to the severity of my brain injury . My family then detoxed me from prescribed medication, and re-introduced me to marijuana . Which has helped me to fully recover, and today I am no longer in a wheel chair . Or eating from a feeding, and I no longer wear diapers or am fed through a feeding tube….

  27. Darn, another typo, make that “A full 98% of those that still want to keep marijuana illegal are ‘not making any money on it being illegal’. Rather they are enjoying losing money on the policy and having less security overall thanks to increased crime rates is just a bonus, I guess.

  28. Hello Mark,

    About Twenty years ago a friend broke his arm playing drunk football. In the Xray, you could see there was a large gap where the tendon attaches in the bone which the doctors said could not heal correctly without surgery(ies) and physical therapy. It wasn’t a crack, but the bone had pulverized into many fragments.

    They put a cast on his arm and gave prescripts for pain killers. He took the pain meds for a couple of days, but stopped. However, he did use a fair amount of marijuana while wearing the cast. When it came off, he had no problem with it. He has full motion, barely had any lingering pain and needed no physical therapy! The doctors have no explantion other than, “I guess you were lucky”. Lucky my ass. The marijuana helped his body heal and heal better than it would have on its own.

    This is pointing me in two directions. First, the pills doctors proscribe likely reduce the body’s healing potenial. Second, marijuana increases the body’s healing potenial a lot.

    Then we have our broken ecomonomics: The sicker we get, the more money our doctors make. They have no finacial interest in making us well. They have no finacial reason to recommend people use marijuana, if it heals quickly. They will be less likely to need a follow up visit and thus pay again.

  29. @Dave, just as now every year dozens more brilliantly breeded cannabis strains are introduced with new recipe-assortments of 1/useful 2/educational 3/artistic 4/therapeutic 5/entertaining terpenes and cannabinoids, there is a whole further world over there among hundreds of well-known and loved non-cannabinoid but very terpenetic herbs such as:

    alfalfa, basil, borage, buchu, catnip (Nepeta cataria), chamomile, chaparral (Larrea Mexicana), coriander, damiana, dandelion, dillweed, eucalyptus, fo-ti-tieng, ginseng leaf, hibiscus, hops flower (Humulus lupulus), kinnickinnick (Uva ursi), lavender buds, lobelia, marjoram, mat`e,
    mullein, nettle leaf(Urtica), OREGANO, parsley, pennyroyal, peppermint, rosebud, rosemary logs, sage, savory, thyme, verbena, wormwood (Artemisia absynthia), yarrow, zinnia buds.

    Try any of these famous, millennium-honored herbs (Britishers pronounce it “hairb’s”)
    and you may find it appears to do for you just fine something you may now be counting on cannabis to do for you at ten or more times the price! (Yes, we’re working for Herb
    Price Democracy but in the meantime I think none of the above is above $5 an ounce.)

    If you’re one of those who demand a BIG HIT, the terpene triumph trophy goes to OREGANO AND EUCALYPTUS as usually strongest-tasting among the herbs republic. YES, I agree cannabis is #1 but there’s this huge orchestra of #2’s worth getting to know individually

    (in a 25-mg single toke serving from a CHOOMETTE flexible drawtube one-hitter you can make from $1.29 worth of parts left lying around in your garage by the previous God).

    Plug: “La-Cons” in Los Angeles is a company that markets a polyethylene HINGED-LID CANNISTER, my choice for best size and shape is the #750150 where 750 refers to 3/4-inch height, and 150 to 1-1/2-inch diameter. On top they have a round paper label sticker on which you can write the name of the herb inside and other fitting artwork.

  30. Mexweed, Oregano is a bit hit with the bees. Literally, every kind of bee in the neighborhood visits the oregano when it flowers.

    You just gotta love the herbs 🙂

    I keep all kinds of flowering herbs and whatnot to feed all kinds of different wildlife, from flowers that feed humming birds to little tiny bees that look like flies. And selected plants that continue flowering after frost as honey bees still need food on warms days.

    Thanks for the tips about the other herbs, I’ve been looking into a trying out cultivating different kinds of food plants for several years now. Swiss Chard is one of my favorites as it is so ridiculously productive.

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