Given the alarming number of professional football players who are suffering from massive brain injuries, the National Football League needs to read up on a recent study by researchers at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, California.
Dr. David Plurad, one of the study’s authors, tells Reuters that 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.
“This data fits with previous data showing that (THC) may be neuroprotective,” Plurad said. “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.”
Plurad and his team reviewed data on 446 adults treated at Harbor-UCLA for traumatic brain injuries. All had been tested for THC. While 11.5 percent of those with negative THC test died, only 2.4 percent of people who tested positive for THC died. When the researchers accounted for age, gender, injury severity and type, people who had THC in their systems were about 80 percent less likely to die.
Marijuana’s therapeutic effects are worth further study given pot is easily available, cheap compared to prescription medication, and may some medical benefits, Plurad said.