Researchers also have been conducting studies to learn more about brain injuries, so they can understand the causes and develop new, more effective treatments. One brain injury treatment that is showing promise is cannabidiol, or CBD, which is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid molecule produced by cannabis.
In 1998, researchers published the results of a study on rats that demonstrated the neuroprotective benefits of CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which are two of the cannabinoids found in cannabis.  Although more research is required to fully understand the neuroprotective effects of CBD, recent studies have shown that CBD activates the cannabinoid receptors in your brain that are part of your body’s natural endocannabinoid system.
What is a brain injury?
Many professional athletes have spoken out about the benefits of CBD for the treatment of TBI and CTE symptoms, saying that it helped to regulate their mood, improve physical function, and reduce or eliminate their use of prescription painkillers and other medications.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a condition that occurs when a head injury, such as a bump, blow, or jolt, causes your brain to slam into the inside of your skull, which results in brain damage.
Repeated TBIs can cause a buildup of Tau protein, which can lead to a degenerative neurological condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE can have a devastating impact on individuals and their families because it can cause a variety of symptoms that affect memory, emotions, behavior, movement, and mental functioning.
HIE is a medical condition found in newborn babies, which usually occurs when the infant’s brain is accidentally subjected to reduced oxygen supply during birth. The mechanism of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy is visible from its name: Hypoxia is a term that explains the reduction in oxygen supply to a tissue due to various causes, ischemia stands for inadequate blood supply to an organ due to vasoconstriction or shock, and encephalopathy means a brain disease that alters the normal brain biology or its function due to abnormalities in its structure. Asphyxiation of the newborn due to any cause mostly results in hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, as it most commonly interferes with the supply of blood to the nervous tissue in the newborn. If the blood supply to the brain is altered during its developmental phases, it results in serious birth brain defects in the babies later on in their lives. HIE may also be caused due to strangulation of the umbilical cord around the neck of the baby, thereby causing dangerous strangulation. Or, it may also be caused due to the abnormal stretching of the mother’s pelvis to give birth to the baby. The short width of the pelvis does not give enough room to the baby’s head to come out, which results in compression of the vessels supplying blood to the brain, thereby causing ischemia and gradually leading to hypoxia. This hypoxia can affect different areas of the brain.
The results of these studies, as a whole, provided strong evidence in the favour of CBD being an effective drug to check the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. CBD activated the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor through the beta-catenin pathway to protect PC12 cells from neurotoxicity and oxidation stress that leads ultimately to cell death, thereby indirectly increasing the rate of cell survival along with reducing ROS production. CBD also indirectly reduced lipid peroxidation in the areas of the central nervous system. Lipid peroxidation is found to be the main culprit behind the uncontrolled tumor production through dangerous free radicals. Decreased lipid peroxidation, therefore, inhibited the hyperphosphorylation of the tau protein, which in turn inhibits acetylcholestrinase (the enzyme responsible for the breakdown of acetylcholine at neuromuscular junctions). All of this leads to an increased rate of neurogenesis in the hippocampus, which is a vital part of the brain involved in the formation of long-term memories. Discrepancies in this area of the brain mostly lead to various types of dementia. CBD indirectly promotes the health of the hippocampus, thereby reducing the risk of dementia in the later life of a person.
The cannabinoids (extracts of the Cannabis plant) act by binding to specific receptors in the brain tissue. These receptors are called cannabinoid receptors. These receptors are present on the cells throughout our central nervous system, and they are sometimes also called the CB1 and CB2 receptors. These receptors directly affect the function of the cell they are on, the psychic effects experienced after consuming marijuana have a rapid onset. Such receptors are found predominantly in the brain in the hippocampus and cerebellum. The psychoactive cannabinoids such as THC result in euphoria, enhancement of sensory perception, increased heart rate, decreased pain stimuli, and difficulties in concentrating on specific tasks. The high effect of THC is due to the rapid binding and action of THC on these receptors, which most commonly results in altered perception and sometimes hallucinations.
The Prospects of CBD in Reversing a Birth Brain Injury – Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)
The effects of combining CBD oil along with hypothermia treatment to treat HIE appeared to be more promising than simply using CBD or hypothermia therapy to treat the congenital brain damage leading to hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. Dr. Martinez Orgado, a Spanish associate professor of pediatrics, studied the effects of hypothermia therapy along with injecting CBD to the patients with congenital brain damage. The results of the study were very promising, and the use of CBD along with hypothermia therapy eliminated brain damage almost entirely. The treatment has started in Spain and the United Kingdom, involving babies suffering from brain damage getting hypothermia therapy alone, hypothermia along with CBD or hypothermia along with a placebo.
The in vitro studies conducted to examine the effect of CBD on a patient with Alzheimer’s were carried out on the PC12 neuronal cells. The results emphasized that cannabidiol activated the Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor through an intrinsic pathway in the central nervous system. When this pathway was activated, it protected the neuronal PC12 cells from degradation due to oxidation and neurotoxicity.
Cannabidiol, due to its promising effects on the central nervous system of a person, has been extensively researched to judge its effects on reversing the brain damage caused due to traumatic brain injury. The endocannabinoid system of the central nervous system appears to be self-protective. There are some radical changes in the chemicals associated with the endocannabinoid system right after the injury. These changes, which include an increase in the levels of anandamide, are to eliminate the initial impacts of the injury, which most commonly include pain. After the traumatic brain injury (TBI), inflammation occurs almost every time. The inflammation spreads to both the secondary injury cascades and the repair of the CNS. Both of these systems are influenced by the endocannabinoid system to a great extent. A study was conducted and the results published on PubMed. This study determined the effects of recurring treatment with a cannabinoid type 2 receptor agonist (which enhances the receptor activity) on various weak points due to traumatic brain injury. These points included the blood-brain barrier integrity and neuronal degeneration in mice with TBI. The specific behavioral effects due to the traumatic injury were also studied.
Aripiprazole and risperidone are currently the drugs of choice in treating schizophrenia. The involvement of the endocannabinoid system in the neuronal circuits of the brain, and its ability to greatly affect the emotions of the person shows that cannabidiol has the potential ability to treat schizophrenia. CBD helps treat the cognitive impairments in the patients suffering from schizophrenia and thus helps in symptomatic treatment.
For more information on CBD oil dosages and how to find the right one for you, check out our dosage guide here.
From there, you can use a CBD oil capsule for a consistent daily dose of CBD. CBD capsules can easily be worked into your vitamin and/or TBI treatment routine. Because capsules (and edibles) have to pass through your digestive system, it can take up to an hour for the effects to set in. However, the effects typically last 4 to 6 hours, meaning you won’t have to worry about dosing throughout the day.
Unfortunately, there is no one single dose that is universal for people with traumatic brain injuries. While a naturopathic doctor can help you narrow down a dose specific to your needs, what works best will vary from person to person.
CBD Oil Dosage for Traumatic Brain Injuries
The CB2 receptors in the central nervous system play a significant role in controlling inflammation, as do the A2A receptors. CBD interacts with these receptors to increase their effects and reduce inflammation.
Even more important than its role in bone healing, is the role of CBD in cell regeneration and mood. Around half of all patients who suffer a TBI will experience depression in the 12 months following the injury. A study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology investigated the role of cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system in mood regulation and neurogenesis. The study reported that “the weight of evidence indicates that impaired neurogenesis is associated with depression and cognitive impairment” and that cannabinoids such as CBD encourage neurogenesis. The researchers conclude, “Pharmacological targeting of the cannabinoid system as a regulator of neurogenesis may prove a fruitful strategy in the prevention or treatment of mood or memory disorders.” This means CBD oil has the potential to repair the brain from a physical and emotional standpoint at the cellular level.
When recovering from a TBI, reducing inflammation is essential. There are a number of studies that show all the ways CBD oil can reduce inflammation in nervous tissues.
A CBD oil tincture or drops allow for the most dosage control. You can control the amount of CBD you’re taking down to the literal drop! So, it may be wisest to start with CBD oil drops or tinctures to figure out your ideal dosage.