Marijuana May Help Protect Brain From Injury


TEL AVIV, ISRAEL — A tiny amount of tetrahydrocannabinol — the active ingredient in marijuana — may protect against some brain damage in mice, an Israeli researcher says.

Researchers injected mice with a low dose of THC either before or after exposing them to brain trauma. Similar rodents in a control group were also injured but received no THC, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The study, published in Behavioural Brain Research and Experimental Brain Research, found about a month or two later, the mice that got the THC did better in behavioral tests measuring learning and memory and showed they had greater amounts of neuroprotective chemicals than the control-group mice.

The low dose of the THC and long period for administering it would have obvious benefits after an injury, but it also could mean that THC could be given prior to a procedure that might carry risk of brain injury, such as an interruption of blood flow to the brain during surgery or for regular use among epileptics, Sarne said.