Marijuana prevents brain damage in mice

LOS ANGELES — The words “marijuana” and “brain damage” usually go in that order in medical literature. An Israeli researcher has flipped them around, finding that THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, may arrest some forms of brain damage in mice.

Pharmacologist Josef Sarne of Tel Aviv University found that a minuscule amount of tetrahydrocannabinol may protect the brain after injuries from seizures, toxic drug exposure or a lack of oxygen.

The amounts wouldn’t qualify as much more than a second-hand whiff of kine bud — the quantity of THC is an order of 1,000 to 10,000 lower than that in a whole spliff.

The study was published in Behavioural Brain Research and Experimental Brain Research.

Other researchers suggested using high — their word — doses within about half an hour after such injury. Sarne would spread a smaller dose over as much as a week.

The chemical is thought to jump-start biochemical processes that protect brain cells and preserve cognitive function.

Researchers injected mice with a low dose of THC either before or after exposing them to brain trauma. Fellow rodents in a control group got their brains bonked without the dose.

About a month or two later, the mice that got the THC treatment performed better in behavioral tests measuring learning and memory and showed they had greater amounts of neuroprotective chemicals than the control-group mice.

Oddly, it may be brain damage on a small scale that causes the brain to shift into protective mode. Researchers theorize the THC causes minute damage to the brain that helps build resistance and triggers protective measures in the face of more severe injury.

The low dose and long window for administering it would have obvious benefits after an injury, but it also could mean that THC can be given prior to a procedure that may carry risk of brain injury, including interruption of blood flow to the brain during surgery. Sarne believes it also could be safe for regular use among epileptics.

More in Local News

Suspect sought in two Everett bank robberies

He’s described as 5-foot-10 to 6-foot-1, with dark hair and a goatee, and may have a neck tattoo.

Two missing men found, one alive and one dead

The man found alive was found in an apartment across the hallway and taken to a hospital.

Jogger unharmed after fending off attacker in Edmonds

Police released video of a man they believe to be the attacker.

Darrington School Board dealing with upheavals

The crux of the controversy seems to be the superintendent’s job.

Alaska Airlines has selected destinations for new service from Paine Field. (Alaska Airlines)
Alaska Airlines will fly from Everett to 8 West Coast cities

Two destinations that didn’t make the list were Spokane and Hawaii.

Three teens arrested for Marysville school vandalism

Windows were broken and a trash bin was on fire Sunday night at a Marysville middle school.

Langley mayor threatens newspaper with lawsuit

The mayor threatened to sue the paper over claims he withheld public records disclosure information.

Divers called to recover body after train hits pedestrian

The accident was reported by a BNSF crew near Woods Creek in Monroe.

FILE - This Tuesday, May 30, 2017 file photo, former Washington Gov. John Spellman, second from left, leaves a memorial service in Renton, Wash. Spellman, the last Republican governor elected in Washington, has died at age 91. Spellman’s son, Seattle attorney David Spellman, confirmed his death Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren,File)
John Spellman was last GOP governor of Washingon

He had spent recent weeks “being very disappointed with the Cougs and the Huskies,” his son said.

Most Read