Study Summary: THC for Traumatic Brain Injury

Updated: Oct 9

An August 2022 research study entitled "Administration of Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Following Controlled Cortical Impact Restores Hippocampal-Dependent Working Memory and Locomotor Function" that was published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research explored the ability of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to "enhance brain repair and improve short-term spatial working memory."

The design of this study was that of pre-clinical research involving rodent (mouse) subjects that underwent a form of traumatic brain injury (TBI) called a controlled cortical impact (CCI) and then were treated with THC for three days at a dose of 3 mg per kilogram of body weight. The scientists measured the test subject's short-term memory and locomotor function to determine if the THC treatment produced an improvement in these cognitive and neural capabilities.


"Treatment with THC could reverse the deficit in working memory caused by the [TBI]."

Results

The scientists observed that the test subjects treated with delta-9 THC "exhibited marked improvement in performance" and that they perceived "treatment with the phytocannabinoid [THC] could reverse the deficit in working memory caused by the CCI."

The THC molecule


The study reported that the mice treated with THC "ran on the rotarod longer" than the control group of mice that did not receive THC and "recovered to normal...performance levels at two weeks." It noted that the subjects treated with THC displayed "significant upregulation" of a variety of chemicals in the cerebral cortex and other parts of the brain. The research also revealed that mice treated with THC displayed increased levels of the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG).


"Administration of Δ9-THC promotes significant functional recovery from traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the realms of working memory and locomotor function."

Conclusions

The scientists concluded that "administration of the phytocannabinoid Δ9-THC promotes significant functional recovery from traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the realms of working memory and locomotor function." Importantly, the research attributed this brain improvement with increased production of a number of beneficial chemicals in the brain, including the endocannabinoid 2-AG.


View the original study.


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