Posts Tagged opioid

[WEB SITE] Marijuana could be effective against traumatic brain injury

Although the lives of patients dealing with a traumatic brain injury have improved manifold in recent years, they find themselves vulnerable to a host of side-effects that come with the modern-day medicine such as opioid painkillers, antidepressants, mood stabilizers and anti-seizure medicines.

The good news, however, is that we can now make use of legal cannabis to treat a traumatic brain injury, without the fear of death and other side-effects (recall, marijuana consumption has never resulted in a single death thus far).

A study published in 2014 found that testing positive for THC while sustaining a traumatic brain injury was associated with decreased mortality – from 11.5% to down to just 2.4%. In this post, we’ll take a look at the available research and scientific evidence that may help us determine if (and how) marijuana could help improve the condition of a person battling TBI.

Symptoms of a traumatic brain injury

TBIs occur because of a severe blow to the head, typically during an athletic event or a road accident. The common symptoms include:

  • Mood swings
  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Difficulties while speaking
  • Loss of motor control
  • Loss of memory

How cannabis could prove to be a breakthrough

1) Relieving Symptoms

Cannabis-derived medicines are known to drastically reduce the intensity and frequency of some types of seizures, while at the same time also displaying potent anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects, and that too without any serious side-effects.

Interestingly, a 2017 survey of 271 medical marijuana patients found that nearly 63% of participants preferred cannabis over prescription medications for the management of pain and anxiety.

2) Protection against a TBI

In order to understand this point well, you first need to have a clear understanding of the term ‘endocannabinoids’. Just like a cannabis plant produces phytocannabinoids (CBD, THC), the human body naturally produces similar molecules named endocannabinoids, which are used by the nervous and immune system to communicate.

A number of pre-clinical studies like this have shown that endocannabinoids have neuroprotective properties, which helps the brain and nervous system to recover after a blow.

It has been seen in animal models that CBD works by boosting levels of the body’s own endocannabinoids; while THC — the compound responsible for the “high” — works by taking the place of natural endocannabinoids itself in the body.

Growth of new brain cells

A study from the University of Saskatchewan (2005) found that when rodents were administered with synthetic THC, the cannabinoid apparently boosted the growth of new brain cells in a region known as the hippocampus.

The hippocampus region is responsible for memory, learning and the autonomic nervous system; research has shown that patients battling anxiety and depression often have this portion of their brain adversely affected.

Hence, the growth of new cells, courtesy of cannabis, may help in tackling the situation.

Reduced Brain inflammation

It is a well-known fact that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties. Preclinical research has found that CBD treatment immediately after a loss of oxygen can significantly reduce brain damage.

This 2011 study found that CBD treatment administered to newborn pigs after an injury effectively reduced brain edema, seizures and improved overall motor skills and behavior within just 72 hours after the injury.


The power of cannabinoids should never be underestimated. It’s only a matter of time before cannabis replaces most of the opioid medicines in use for traumatic brain injury treatment.


via Marijuana could be effective against traumatic brain injury

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[BLOG POST] Substance Use and Disability – A Look at NIDILRR – Funded Research


Last week, NIDILRR released a Funding Opportunity Announcement for a Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) Program: Research on Opioid Use Disorder Among People with Disabilities. The announcement followed several months of careful research to write an opportunity that answered the needs of the community in regard to opioid use and disability. Earlier in the year, NIDILRR released a Request for Information on the topic to generate comments, concerns, and ideas from the community on this issue. The result, summarized in a report released May 4th (PDF), provided information about “what is known and what are the most pressing research questions for the disability and rehabilitation research fields.” Among the responses, NIDILRR found that:

  • New evidence suggests that people with disabilities are more likely than the general population to misuse opioids and develop related disorders, but they may be less likely to receive treatment than their peers without disabilities.
  • Barriers to treatment included physical accessibility of treatment centers, limited insurance coverage, and policies that withheld opioid prescriptions without first offering pain management alternatives.
  • People with disabilities involving serious traumatic injury such as spinal cord or brain injuries may be at greater risk of opioid misuse and unintentional death due to opioid poisoning.

Many people with disabilities experience pain on a daily basis and may use opioids as part of their physician-directed pain management. Research is needed in this area to understand how these individuals and their care teams can balance the need to manage pain and the risk of substance abuse. This opportunity is not NIDILRR’s first foray into exploring the connection between disability and substance use disorders. NIDILRR-funded research in this area has included:


(Click the project title to view an abstract and links to any related publications in NARIC’s REHABDATA database)

Integrated Program to Improve Competitive Employment in Dually Diagnosed Clients(Field Initiated 2014-2017)

Treatment Development for Alcohol Craving and Rehabilitation Among Individuals with Co-Occurring Mild Traumatic Brain Injury, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Alcohol Use Disorder. (Fellowship 2013-2014

Deaf Off Drugs and Alcohol: Evaluating a Technology-Assisted E-Therapy Program for Substance Use Disorder Treatment (Field Initiated 2011-2013)

A National Assessment of the Rates and Correlates of Alcohol and Other Drug Use by College Students with Disabilities (Field Initiated 2008-2011)


The Impact of Alcohol Use on Outcome and Recovery after Traumatic Brain Injury.(Fellowship 2006-2007)

Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Substance Abuse, Disability, and Employment. (Rehabilitation Research and Training Center 2004-2010)


Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Drugs and Disability (RRTC 1997-2001) and the RRTC on Substance Abuse and Disability (1993-1997)

Substance Abuse Treatment for Adults with Chronic Mental Illness (Fellowship 1994-1995)

Substance Abuse as a Barrier to Employment for Persons with Traumatic Brain Injury.(Disability and Rehabilitation Research Project 1991-1995)

Pre 1990

Innovation Grant to Develop a Unique Rehabilitation Curriculum to Train Rehabilitation Counseling Masters Students in Alcoholism Counseling to Work with Multidisabled Alcoholics. (Innovative Research Projects, 1987-1988)

Medication Effects on Attention and Behavior in Head Injured Patients. (Field Initiated 1986-1987)

Relation of Substance Use to Rehabilitation Outcome in Persons with Spinal Cord Injury.(Field Initiated 1986-1987)


Explore publications from these projects and other members of the NIDILRR community in the area of substance use disorders:

If you are a person with a disability who is concerned about substance use disorder, please visit the Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator at or call your local 211 to speak with a community-level information specialist who can help you find treatment in your area.


via Substance Use and Disability – A Look at NIDILRR-Funded Research | Collection Spotlight from the National Rehabilitation Information Center

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