Dagga, booze good for head injury survival

2014-10-14 05:00

(http://www.shutterstock.com)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

New York - People who use marijuana may be more likely to survive a serious head injury than people who don't, a new study suggests.

At one hospital, the death rate after traumatic brain injury was lower among people who tested positive for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the active ingredient in marijuana) than among people who tested negative for it, researchers found.

"This data fits with previous data showing that (THC) may be neuroprotective," Dr David Plurad, one of the study's authors, said in a phone interview.

Experiments in animals have found that THC may protect the brain after injury, Plurad and his colleagues write in The American Surgeon. Little is known about the specific effects of THC on brain injury in humans, however.

For the new study, the researchers reviewed data on 446 adults treated at Harbour-UCLA Medical Centre in Torrance, California for traumatic brain injuries. All had been tested for THC.

Overall, approximately one in five patients tested positive for THC and one in 10 patients died after their injury.

About 2.4% of people who tested positive for THC died, compared to about 11.5% of those with negative THC tests.

People who tested positive for THC were about 80% less likely to die, compared to people with negative THC tests, researchers found after they adjusted the numbers to account for age, gender, injury severity and type.

Worth investigating

Previous studies have also suggested that alcohol may protect the brain in traumatic brain injuries, Plurad said. Those studies did not account for the presence of THC, however.

"We included the presence of alcohol in our statistical analysis, and it didn't turn out to be as protective as the presence of the marijuana," he said, adding that future studies examining the effects of alcohol on traumatic brain injury should account for the presence of THC.

One concern with the study, according to Plurad, is that the test for THC could not distinguish occasional from regular users. A person could test positive after having used marijuana days or even weeks before.

Given that marijuana is inexpensive and may have some medical benefits, its therapeutic effects are worth investigating further, he added.

"There's not going to be one answer, is marijuana good for you, is marijuana bad for you," he added. "Like most things in life, and particularly medicine, it's going to be somewhere in between."


Read more on:    us  |  narcotics

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
21 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.