By Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director
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.